Talkback: The ornamental cabbage

When I lived in Washington D.C. twenty years ago they were everywhere and I thought them a little vulgar.
They are now a fixture on the UK gardening scene but my attitude has changed completely.(David Hurrion did a lovely feature about using them in pots in Nov. issue of Gardeners' World Magazine).
Any port in a storm: ornamental cabbages are fabulous for providing winter colour.


  • Sniff!

    I was at my local garden centre a few weeks ago with a friend when we spotted some of these. We turned to each other simultaneously and said 'Why?'
  • I too spotted some ornamental cabbages in a container outside a local garden centre last week.
    The container contained only the cabbages and cineraria, but it looked very effective with the deep purple colour of the cabbages against the silver of the cineraria.
  • I started to use ordnary dark-leaved cabbages as infillers for my husband's new beds of dark-leaved perennials some years ago, when I had too many seedlings for the veg patch, and was amazed to see how well they lasted and how attractive they were when fully open, despite the pigeons. So now I, too, look at the ornamental varieties, particularly the purple ones, with fresh eyes.

    I couldn't cope with the chrysanths and cyclamen combo, though!

  • The kale looks better. Not sure bout ornamental cabbages as cut flower - they'd bring a rather pungent odour to a display.
  • Yes, the purple kale looks rather good - I wonder how tough it is to eat?

  • Me too, I work in a garden centre and can't stand the darn things. If they're not spaced apart (quite difficult in a limited selling area) they get quite mouldy. It's also difficult to keep them looking their best, in pots. They can be very striking in a border display, but I just do't like them, I mean, what's the point of a cabbage if you can't eat it?.
  • Hey, thanks so much for posting this original and unique article. I can't tell you how many times I've visited blogs
    from Google and they've got nothing on them but crappy ads and false information that's unereliable. I don't
    normally comment on blogs, but I just thought that i'd drop you a line and tell you that I think you're doing a fantastic job.
  • To each his own - I remain sniffy!
  • I've never thought of planting them until my daughter's boyfriend gave her a bouquet containing some stunning long-stemmed purple flowers. I've now ordered some seeds and will give them a try.

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