While the use of kale (Brassica oleracea) as an ornamental isn't new, I think many folks utilize this showy plant primarily late in the season because of intense colors and frost tolerance. That is totally valid although kale can be a contributor in the summer garden as well. Our front slope garden (2012) as seen above features large patches of dinosaur kale (Brassica oleracea 'Lacinato') which was a very strong contributor to the white and blue theme we had that year. Directly below is the repetition of that same kale along a border at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI. While kale is certainly a nutritious edible, I think gardeners are seeing the potential of kale throughout the growing season. The coloration of kale also intensifies later in the summer as temperatures start to dip. We've had some fall planted kale add color in the garden well past Christmas with some even overwintering until Spring.
Our Plantaholics Retreat is tomorrow and we spent some time today getting ready for this annual Spring Symposium. We have a strong registration and are looking forward to a great day. Janice was in to work on lanyards and other preparations for this event. Larry H. worked on some more tidying and other garden-related tasks. John had some indoor work which included servicing our rototillers. We also saw Hal R., Bill O., Mary H., Dick H. (vehicle work) and many others today. Kay was in to tidy up her section of the shade garden. Maury picked up and assembled our large rental screen for the event tomorrow with Mark S. I spent time preparing for the symposium as well and continue to get our Spring orders completed and label information gathered and organized.
Brassica 'Lacinato' (dinosaur kale) - above and two below
Brassica 'Redbor' (above and two below)
darkening color of 'Redbor' (above and below)
Brassica 'Black Tuscan' (above)
Brassica 'Greenbelt' (broccoli) with sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) - Chicago Botanic Garden
now that's a lot of coleslaw! (above)
Brassica 'Glamour Red' (above)
Brassica (miscellaneous) - above and all below