Flowering In The Fall

By Julia Price

August 3, 2018 5 min read

Gardens provide a source of seasonal nourishment, and they can serve as a beautiful pop of color that is joyful to admire. During fall, you may find yourself wondering how to add more electric color to your surroundings before winter. Flowering cabbage and kale are perfect companions for the change in weather, and regardless of whether they're spread throughout a garden, in a garden container or lining a walkway, these stunning bursts of a rainbow palette will charm you every day.

The aesthetics of flowering cabbage and kale complement many garden plants. They are even used as decorative food garnishes, as they are edible but have a bitter taste. Despite their name, they rarely put out real flowers And though they come in similar shades of bold green, blue, purple, pink and white, you can differentiate them by the leaves: Kale has ruffled, frilly leaves, while cabbage leaves are rounder and smoother. According to the UMass Amherst Greenhouse and Floriculture Extension and Better Homes and Gardens, some of the most well-known variations are the following:

--Tokyo cabbage: red or white leaves with a red center.

--Osaka cabbage: red or white leaves with a white center.

--Pigeon Red kale: red, pink, or purple leaves with a red center.

--Chidori White kale: blue-green heads with a white center.

--Glamour Red kale: red or purple leaves.

--Peacock Red kale: blue or green leaves with a red-purple center.

--Redbor Series kale: dark-purple leaves.

If planting them in a garden, Better Homes and Gardens recommends planting them alongside chrysanthemums, leadworts and pansies. The Dengarden site for home and garden enthusiasts notes that they make great companion plants "because they give and receive benefits." Try planting them with artichokes, beets, celery, peas, potatoes, radishes, cucumbers, lettuces, onions and spinach. Suggested herb plant pairings are as follows: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, dill, chamomile, sage and thyme.

These decorative plants require relatively little care, namely consistent watering and keeping the soil moist. They are relatively bug- and insect-free; however, all plants are attractive to some pests. It's common for caterpillars, slugs, aphids and flea beetles to plan an attack and make their mark. Keep an eye out for holes in the leaves, trails of shiny liquid or other signs that they are being targeted. Treatment may vary depending on location, but detecting a problem early on is key.

Both of these ornamental plants thrive in cool seasons. When the temperature drops. Once the temperature hits lower than 50 degrees F, the true essence of these vibrant colors will begin to show. Though neither do well in the warmer months, you still want to plant them in an area where they will find direct sunlight or partial shade, for they won't grow as strong in the shade. Plant the seeds six to nine weeks before the first expected frost of the season, and in several months they'll grow to their full adult size. Plan ahead and you can have a beautiful blanket of color.

Customize your garden design with a full arrangement or freely spread accent of either plant. Since they can grow to be quite large, The Spruce says they "look especially good in a large planting, where their color really stands out." And since they grow low, they can serve as a walkway border or edging to protect your garden. Consider planting fewer plants in ceramic pots or window boxes, rather than scattered throughout the garden. Pinterest, Country Living magazine and Good Housekeeping magazine are inspiring places to start brainstorming and envisioning your perfect layout. They will help guide you through your garden goals no matter how green your thumbs are.

Adding color into your world can better your emotional well-being and trigger positive responses. Flowering kale and cabbage are flora and fauna that will put a little extra pep in your step no matter how gray it is outside.

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