These past few weekends have been busy ones for gardeners and farmers alike. It’s time to harvest the last bit of fall veggies. About two weeks ago I pulled up the remainder of our kale and we enjoyed meals of all things kale. This vegetable has become a very popular one over the last few years as it has been identified as a super food, chocked full of nutritional goodness. But this isn’t a cooking blog so I thought it would be most appropriate to feature kale – the ornamental variety we use for floral design. Both culinary kale and ornamental kale are from the brassica family.
Kale is an interesting botanical to use in floristry because, although it is technically not a flower, its leaves are arranged in such a pattern that it resembles a rose. Our customers often look at an ornamental kale with confusion, asking “what is that flower that looks like a cabbage?“. Disbelief is always the reaction when we tell them that it is (well, sort of!). We love the versatility of the ornamental kale for four reasons. Firstly, its fresh green colour, or vibrant purple shades are a welcome addition to the usual rich deep tones of a fall bouquet – it gives a bouquet a sometimes needed lightness. Secondly, kale is a large, focal flower that helps to fill out an arrangement, providing it with a fullness. A customer with a more modest budget would benefit from a stem or two of kale because it will bulk up its appearance. Thirdly, they ring in between $5-7 a piece – a very reasonable price for such a large flower. And finally, kale lasts a very long time once cut. Beware: when they get old, oh boy do they smell…..um….like cabbage!
Many people wonder if the ornamental kale is poisonous – many other plants or flowers labelled ornamental often are. Ornamental kale is edible but you probably won’t like it very much. The leaves are tough and chewy. If you are looking for something that will last well into the late fall and winter, potted ornamental kale is a great choice. Its looks especially pretty covered with a light dusting of snow.