The flowers had matured like some kind of giant, mutant thistle and they were keeping all manner of bees and insects busy mining into the flower heads for the pollen. When the autumn arrives the seed heads will provide masses of food for the goldfinches, greenfinches and many other small birds that are known in these parts as 'LBJs' or 'little brown jobs'.
So, all-in-all a real bird, animal and insect friendly plant. The artichokes may have split and fallen over but they can stay like that whether they look a mess or not.
I'm sure our feathered friends and the many legged friends approve.