This year I decided to grow some ornamental cabbage from seed. I got a very late start...July to be exact...so I wasn't especially hopeful that my efforts would amount to much. Happily, the cabbage plants don't seem finicky about calendar dates. They have reached a fairly substantial size. The largest are more than a foot tall and more than a foot in diameter. The smallest aren't that much smaller. I grew the plants in my raised veggie beds. Today I moved them to the front yard garden where they are nestled in among the geranium "Rozanne."
The plants haven't developed the wildly colourful centres of pink, purple and white as seen on the seed pack (blame the late start) but there's still plenty of time in the growing season, especially since these guys don't mind the cold. Even without their colourful centres, the plants are quite bold in their appearance and add interest as "Rozanne" begins to wane. They are right up against the sidewalk so I hope the neighbours enjoy the view.
A trip to the garden centre to pick up some compost revealed that ornamental cabbages, similar in size to mine, are going for $10 or more each! That makes me feel pretty good about a seed pack I picked up for $1.69.
Update: I'v been doing some more research on ornamental cabbage and it turns out I planted the seeds at just about the right time. Most websites suggest planting anywhere between 6 and 10 weeks before the first anticipated hard frost. As for the brightly coloured centres of the plant, I can expect to see them as the temperature drops. Cooler days and nights enhance the colour of the cabbage. I thought I would be able to enjoy these plants until about Halloween, but it turns out they don't mind temperatures as low as 5F or -15C. That means there could be colour in the garden right until the end of the year! My $1.69 investment is looking better and better.