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.
25 Replies to “Ornamental Kale (Brassica oleracea) and a Comparison”
What a great comparison! One I never would have thought of.
I wasn’t expecting to think of it either. Some ideas seem to come out of the fingers rather than the brain.
Beautifully photographed and described
How very beautiful 💛💛💛
I’ve always admired these plants, but have never grown them – we live in zone 2(ish) in Northern Ontario – I think I will devote some space from them next season. I love your comparison to the rose.
Good luck with them!
I was thinking of cabbage roses, although perhaps that term is more commonly used by designers who create the patterns for fabrics than by gardeners.
Beautiful portraits of this ornamental plant, Susan!
I’m glad you liked them.
‘One has character, the other, soul.’ What a perfect comparison. 🙂
Thanks! They have very different textures of course too.
I love ornamental cabbages – they are just so pretty.
They are very decorative with the contrasting veins, their edges and the overlapping leaf patterns.
Another unexpectation! I’d never looked closely at ornamental kale and I see in your photos what I’ve missed. This reminds me of an ancient composition assignment: compare and contrast. It’s a visual essay with the same purpose. Nicely done!
Compare and contrast was in my mind too.
They (the kale) are rather lovely. The red and white ones put me in mind of fringed tulips. I was wondering whether they are too bitter to get nibbled, but I somehow doubt it.
They look nibbled even when they are entire.
I tease my sweetheart that he only grows veggies for the looks. If I ask him for kale to put in soup, he always assures me there isn’t any and tries to persuade me not to go out looking. I think these ones would be safe even from my scissors.
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