Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sea Kale

Day 131
The Daily DuBrule

Sea kale (Crambe maritima) is a fabulous perennial. Rarely is this plant offered in the trade and that is a shame. It's related to cabbage and broccoli. The leaves are big and blue and yes, they are edible. The sprays of white flowers appear in May and are quite fragrant. I have had it growing in one of the beds at Natureworks for over 15 years. I planted one plant, back in the day, when wholesalers sold this plant on a regular basis. Not any more. No one that I know of has it for sale, including me. Not that I am lacking plants. After my sea kale finishes flowering, I let it go to seed. New baby plants spring up around the original plant. I leave them as they offer really good foliage structure and anchor the edge of the border all summer long. Plus, I love the crazy look on people's faces when they see what looks like a cabbage plant and then ask "what IS that?" The reason I don't have plants for sale is that they are a devil to dig up successfully. They have essentially no feeder roots. Underground, all you see is a swollen stump of a root. If you do dig them, they have to be set into loose soil and put in the shade until they start to grow, Inevitably, someone overwaters them and they rot. Plus, in the spring when I have the best chance to do this, I am just to busy to remember. I would love to add this plant to my seaside gardens. Perhaps by singing its praises in this blog I will finally get serious about propagating it!

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