I’m a big fan of using kale as an ornamental plant that you can also eat. The curly purple ‘Redbor’ and the long blackish green leaves of ‘Nero di Toscana’ are fine ornamental plants. But this season, following last year’s ‘Starmaker’ buttonhole kale, sees the appearance of three new ornamental kales that are well worth trying as ornamentals.
‘Red Devil’ is, basically, ‘Nero di Toscana’ but with a magenta-pink stripe along the midrib of every leaf. When I saw it on trial in the summer I was immediately struck by how good it would look with pink or white annuals and how, harvested as a baby leaf, the stripe of colour would enliven its look on the plate.
Following the same general idea are ‘Emerald Ice’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ and although these are both slightly curly kales, each features a contrasting colour in the centre of each leaf and both are said to have an exceptional flavour.
‘Emerald Ice’ has slightly bluish green leaves, nicely crinkled at the edges, while the centre of each leaf is white; in fact the young leaves are almost entirely white with a narrowed crinkled green edge.
‘Midnight Sun’ also has a narrow crinkled edge, but then the colour of the leaf becomes red-tinted toward the middle, and the midrib and main veins of each leaf are vivid pink.
All three kales have been developed in Surrey at Britain’s premier vegetable breeders, Tozer Seeds, who are becoming increasingly well known for their new developments in familiar crops.
You can order seeds of kale ‘Emerald Ice’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ from Thompson & Morgan, and ‘Red Devil’ is available from Mr Fothergill’s.
Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS