Ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea) provides an alternative to flowers towards the back end of the year when gardeners have relatively few options. The colours intensify when nights get colder.
Drama comes from the edges of the leaves which are fringed, feathery, frilly or ruffled; contrasting ribs and veins; and their white, pink, red or purple hearts.
Bred for looks not for flavour, ornamental kale tends to be bitter.
I’ve never grown them but their patterns always draw me in and remind me of many-petalled roses.
Yet when you see them side by side, each highlights what the other isn’t. The kale is perky, tough and resilient; the rose, fragile. One has character, the other, soul.