When is a Cabbage more than a Cabbage?

cabbage close upWere you one of those children who didn’t want to eat their ‘greens’? Turned your nose up at the smell of cooked cabbage? Well now that you’re all grown up let’s take a fresh look at this vegetable and see what else you can do with it!

This is the diva of cabbages – just look at that flirty blue foliage with magenta  ribs. Surely it would be wrong to just eat it (unless you’re a slug). Just think of the possibilities in the garden though. Such big succulent foliage would be a perfect side dish to finer textures such as hardy fuchsias as shown below using the soft variegated foliage of Fuchsia magellanica ‘Versicolor’.

A perfect lesson in color echoes and scale.

A perfect lesson in color echoes and scale.

Note how the tall purple alliums repeat the color of the bright veins in the cabbage leaf and how the height and scale of the metal sculpture is balanced by the hefty vegetable foliage.

Red leaf barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpure’a) would add depth to the color palette. If they are invasive in your area you could try darker leaved weigela or fringe flower (Loropetalum),

Balance the soft blue with rich purple companion foliage. A stray branch of Homestead Purple verbena draws the eye to the ribs of the cabbage foliage.

Balance the soft blue with rich purple companion foliage. A stray branch of Homestead Purple verbena (Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead Purple’) draws the eye to the ribs of the cabbage foliage.

Then just build on the idea. Put the cabbage in a fat, round pot, echo the blue tones with blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens), throw in some bold yellow accents and you have the makings of a fabulous foliage-inspired border!

cabbage in pot

A skirt of yellow Sedum ‘Angelina’ brings sparkle to the composition and repeats the color of the mounding conifers (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Fiifera Aurea’).

Maybe cabbage isn’t so bad after all?

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2 thoughts on “When is a Cabbage more than a Cabbage?

  1. Donna Lane

    Karen,
    I have used cabbage plants as decorative elements in both containers and landscapes for years. My favorites are the January King types, like the photo shown in your article. To me, the leafy beauty of this plant rivals any flower I’ve ever seen. Your photograph does justice to the plant. Nice job.
    Donna Lane

    Reply

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