Menaggio  is a town and commune in the province of Como, Lombardy, northern Italy, located on the western shore of Lake Como.  Upon our arrival we experienced the town by enjoying a stroll from Via Calvi with its small shops and craftsmen selling local products to the Church of Santa Marta, in the middle of the street,  and then to Piazza Garibaldi. The lakeside was a peaceful place with its finely tended gardens displaying the colours of autumn.  In the public garden beds I saw Ornamental Kale for the first time. It made an eye-catching statement especially as it was planted en masse. I was certainly prompted to follow through with some research when I returned home.

Ornamental Kale is a plant with serrated or fringed leaf margins and referred to as flowering kale. Ornamental cabbage and kale are very close relatives of edible cabbages and kale. They are in the same species, Brassica oleracea . They have been bred for looks, not flavour and the leaves give the plants their colour and interest. They range in bold shades from purple to rosy pink or creamy white with green – they actually look good enough to eat so are great as a garnish or as a base for egg dishes or hors d’oeuvres.

Cool-season gardens can be transformed with the stunning colours of flowering kale. This plant brings the bold shades of white and purple to the garden’s quiet seasons of autumn and early winter. In mild temperatures plants can look good all winter long.

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On Mother’s Day 2016 my granddaughters presented me with a delightful posy and to my delight,  Kale was the star!



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