We had very unusual weather all summer with
occasional cool spells which reminded one of New England. Quite suddenly Fall
is upon us ushering in all of the beauty Mother Nature has saved for last.
This is the season most favored by many gardeners because of the
quietude...for a brief moment in time
there is nothing particularly pressing and now is the time to enjoy the
migrating butterflies and the multitude of darling dragonflies floating about.
Fall is a marvelous time to leisurely plant a container arrangement and there
are many plants that not only survive the cold temperatures, but thrive on it.
Among the most colorful is flowering or ornamental Kale and unless one has
chickens or Peafowl, it will do well all winter. (*It is a favorite fowl
Kale is among the oldest of the cultivated
edible greens and has been a staple in the garden for centuries. A form of
cabbage native to the wilderness of North America as well as all of northern
Europe, it added a much welcome green and leafy vegetable to dinner tables and
soup pots during the winter. The ornamental Kale is edible but does not form
the tight center ball common in cabbage. Exceedingly popular today, it arrives
at the nursery sporting a multitude of interesting ruffled leaf combinations,
from spires to tight rosettes.
Kale is round, dense and slow growing, making
it a easy to contain. One of its most impressive attributes is the fact that
the colors deepen as the temperature dips, meaning the bright white, vivid
greens, purple, burgundy, blues and variegated colors become more lovely as the
It should be noted that the most intense color is located at the center of the
plant where the outer leaves obstruct them unless they are viewed from directly
overhead. With this fact in mind, they may be planted at an angle in the
container or on a slight slope in the landscape so they may be appreciated from
The precious pansies have begun arriving in
the nurseries and it is a wonderful time to plant them. Originally a common
viola growing in fields and hedgerows in England they were cultivated by
William Richardson, gardener to Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennett in the early
1800’s. Despite his efforts, their first noted appearance was on the estate of
James, Lord Gambier. His gardener, William Thompson, began to cross various
viola species with a viola tricolor in an effort to achieve a round flower of
overlapping petals. In the late 1830s he found by chance a flower that no
longer had narrow nectar guides of dark color on the petals but a broad dark
blotch instead. From this pansy came the future ‘flowers with a face'; his
hybrid was released to the public in 1839 with the name "Medora".
This pansy and its progeny, including "Victoria" became wildly
popular with gardeners and breeders throughout all of Europe.
If planted now, they will survive nicely over
the winter and will have a head start in the spring. Such a cheerful, adorable
little flower is always a welcome guest at the garden party and the color
options are positively stunning, their faces delightful!