I Kale Your Name*

february-22-2009-058-2When seeds were chosen to start in the greenhouse this year there was one standout from last season at the top of the list.february-22-2009-056-2Redbor Kale, Brassica oleracea ‘Redbor’, has been growing in the garden since fall of 2007. At that time seeds were sprinkled over a container planted with bulbs as a late December birthday gift for offspring of offspring Chickenpoet, G.A. Sown too thickly it was soon learned when they sprouted thick as grass in the pot, extras were scooped up and planted around and about since we cannot bear to toss perfectly healthy plants. Places were found for them but winter was almost upon us so there was little hope for their survival. Surprising toughness was shown by this particular specimen, the sole survivor of that group. Planted along the edge of the black garden in full sun, the correct spot, it has done well and brought us much joy as it darkens in the cold temps to a purplish glaucous hue. This type of kale is edible, high in iron and vitamins A and C, but is used mostly as a garnish. We grow it as an ornamental. Our seeds were purchased online from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Click here for the link to their Redbor Kale page. We want to add a few more of these to blacken the black garden’s design. march-2-2009-019-2This year the seeds sprang right up out of the seed starting mix with the help of the heat mat. A few leaves have been tossed into salads to add to the nutritional value and keep the plants smaller until it is warm enough to harden them off some more. A few days under the cold frame made from lumber and an old glass shower door helped darken the color. Recent cold required the tray to be brought back inside the greenhouse for a while longer.march-2-2009-027-2There are some new things growing since I last showed you the greenhouse/sunroom. Sweet peas, Fragrantissima, were started indoors for the first time ever. The vines are reaching for the sky at an alarming rate. Can anyone advise when these can go in the ground? Surely we don’t have to wait until after the last frost date. The greenhouse will be covered in vining peas by then. Entrance will be barred by brazen stems blocking the door.march-2-2009-017-2The lettuces Revolution and Dazzle continue to feed us.march-2-2009-026-21Malva sylvestris ‘Mystic Merlin’ has round leaves with pretty scalloped edging. Bright Yellow swiss chard (formerly labeled Golden Lights in error) and Amarathus paniculatus ‘Autumn Palette’ are soaking up the rays in preparation for hardening off on the deck soon.march-2-2009-028-21Salvia sclaraea ‘Turkestanica’ is growing larger and hairier by the day. The much smaller Salvia nemorosa ‘Rosenwein’ can be seen beside its giant cousin.march-2-2009-004-2Outdoors the sun continues to climb higher on the horizon. The Stipa tenuissima is illuminated by the morning light in a way not seen in the dead of winter. The garden is waking up slowly. Barely above freezing with a strong north wind blowing, the conditions are not hospitable to baby plants just yet. But change is in the light. It can be felt when those beams graze our limbs through layers of moisture wicking material. It won’t be long until the denizens of the greenhouse can be free to live long and prosper in the high wattage of natural sunlight.
*Offshoot from a previous post titled ‘I Call Your Name’. Details can be found by clicking here.

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48 Responses to I Kale Your Name*

  1. tina says:

    It’s looking great. You have such lovely ornamentals. That kale is super. I am looking forward to my Bright lights becoming so big that you sent me. It has sprouted! Fairegarden is looking great even in winter still asleep.

    I have grown sweet peas here. They like cool weather. I think I normally plant them outside in March. With the good weather coming you can harden them off and get them in the ground. They are quite hardy, like the kale. Some may not make it, but most will no problem this time of year.

    Hi Tina, thanks. Good deal on the chard. It is quite easy to grow and very tasty too. I planted sweet pea seeds outside already but nothing has come up yet. It has been so darn cold, the ground is frozen solid, again. Sigh. I can’t wait to get that stuff out of the greenhouse, it is getting crowded in there. But the idea was to have larger plants to go in the ground before it gets too hot. You know how that is.

  2. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, I have put the Brassica on my seed list! It is a lovely colour. I sow my sweet peas indoors in spring. I plant them out once they get large, usually 6-8 inches and a couple sets of leaves, providing they are hardened off really well they are okay with a little frost. Your other seedlings are looking really good, I am looking forward to starting to sow my seeds.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia,thanks for that sweep pea info. I also have sown some outside, but our ground has been frozen so much of the time that I wanted to try some inside too for earlier blooms. You will enjoy the kale, it is easy to grow.

  3. Janet says:

    Very nice Frances. I like the Kale and Ornamental Cabbage for my winter color. Forgot to do it this year! Poof it was winter. Oh well. Yours is very attractive. I scatter my Malva sylvestris directly into the garden. We had some rust issues two years ago, so I had to get rid of them. Will start some more this year. I really like the Stipas. I have some through my garden.
    This is certainly a crazy weather time.

    Hi Janet, thanks. Your owl story was simply the best. The photos were priceless! I have M. Zebrina that self sows around so am curious as to why I bought this seed. My seed buying seems to have no rhyme nor reason. The Stipas have been a winter delight. I spread them to several parts of the garden last year and they draw the eye to evey place they are dwelling. The movement they offer on these windy days makes the garden seem more alive.

  4. Joy says:

    Every time I see Kale I think “Autumn” I can’t help myself .. and you know how Autumn runs into Halloween for me (best if I stop there ? LOL) .. I love that Stipa .. it is so light and graceful looking to me .. I wish I had room to plant “drifts” of my favorite grasses like that .. I won’t mention the Pink Muhly ? (coffee not engaged so spelling is .. iffy ? LOL) In any case .. I love that you have grasses all about the garden .. it truly is beautiful !

    Hi Joy, thanks. I always thought you could only plant kale in the fall too. That’s why I sowed those seeds then. It’s a wonder any lived. The ones started in the greenhouse should do better. And I love Hallowe’en just as much as you do, my dear. πŸ™‚ The stipa has been a delight for winter interest. Somehow I never realized that until it was spread to some other areas and really draw the eye. I may have cut it down other years, that was a big mistake. Then you lose the movement and beauty until it regrows in spring. It is catching the light like nothing else right now and really brightens the views.

  5. Les says:

    Redbor is a great plant, out of the deli display case and into the garden. We sell alot of it at work and pretty much walk by all other kales. I usually plant mine at home surrounded by yellow pansies, except this year. I skipped it until I make sure my plant thief has reformed her ways. We have found sweetpeas work better for us if they are directly sowed in the fall. Planted in the spring here they suffer from the heat before they have a chance to shine.

    Hi Les, thanks for the link love! πŸ™‚ I like that out of the deli case. It is quite showy and has proven so hardy. The only drawback was some cabbage moth caterpillar damage during summer, but somehow this plant was pretty much spared and grew more leaves after the moths were gone. Planted with yellow pansies sounds wonderful. I am adding orange and red flowers to the black garden this year, sort of a Hallowe’en theme. We’ll see how that goes. I planted sweet peas in the fall and they were eaten to the ground so many times that they gave up. I had chicken wire on them against the rabbits, but decided it was voles coming from underneath the wire. I planted some more outside last month, our normal time, but it has been so cold the ground has been frozen much of the time since then. Not our usual. Everything is affected by the rapid heat, some years more than others. I’ll be interested to see how the greenhouse sowing helps for earlier bloom.

  6. gittan says:

    Hi Frances, it looks great! I understand why you’r so fond of those dark coloured plants – I love them to. The weaher It’s about the same here. The light asure us that spring is her but the wind is still pretty cold. My plants have to stay in the laundry-room a little longer and then I’ll put them in the greenhaus for a while. Your last picture is, as allway, lovely. I wish I could see it for real / gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. The black garden used to be all lavender, but they kept dying so dark plants have been added there to fill in the spaces. I would love for you to visit here. You are most welcome any time. The cold is supposed to let up in a day or two here and the seedlings will be able to get some fresh air, but then it will be cold again after that. It will be another month before our last frost date, or more. We enjoy the warmth when it occurs, but keep our coats, hats and gloves handy.

  7. Gail says:

    Good Morning Frances…I love this kale, it’s beautiful. I had no idea it was edible. The green house babies look so healthy and ready to go into the ground; now if only the weather would cooperate. The hillside in morning likght looks fantastic…the stipa is beautiful. It may be a perfect grass; I haven’t found anything wrong with it! I know the title is in reference to a much earlier Beatle song, but I hear John singing to Yoko! Only 25 tonight…then warm weather! Yippee. Have a great day gardening. gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. The light is changing, but the wind is still very cold. Tomorrow is to be the warm up day for a few, then back to cold. Sigh. The stipa is the best, hands down. It looks great every single day of the year. With that song, I hear Mama Cass Elliot belting it out. πŸ™‚

  8. I didn’t realize there was a red kale that you could eat. I love eating the dark green kale. It sure seems that spring is just around the corner even though this cold spell is trying to say no to spring.

    Hi Lisa, neither did I. The young leaves are quite tender and add some zing to the salads. I would think the mature leaves are much tougher to chew on, but by then they are doing an ornamental thing in the garden. The chard takes over from there. Sometimes the chard winters over and we can keep harvesting from it, but not this year, dead as a doornail.

  9. ourfriendben says:

    Ha! I agree, everything’s looking great, Frances! But I’ll admit I was disconcerted by your post title, “I Kale Your Name,” since kale was the only word I ever misspelled in an elementary-school spelling bee, and then only because I’d never heard of it. (My teacher, who was from the North, couldn’t believe it, but pre-ornamental kale, kale just wasn’t a Southern crop.) Fortunately, I didn’t hold that humiliation against it, and I now enjoy raw kale in salads at every opportunity. but apparently the memory still lingers…

    Hi OFB, I think we were leaving comments on each other’s blogs at exactly the same time! Ah, the serendipity of the universe. Your spelling bee story cracked me up, because I have a very similar heart wrenching experience from the third grade with the word *tin*. This was in Oklahoma, and the teacher kept say what sounded to me like the number 10. I asked for it in a sentence, being precocious as you might have guessed, and she said, “You know, tin.” Not saying like a tin can, you moron, which I would have understood. I just kept spelling t-e-n over and over and was eliminated. I asked to see the word and was shattered when I saw what it was and mad at the teacher. Obviously a wound I have carried for a long time. D— her to he–!!!!

  10. Dreamybee says:

    I just bought one of these at our local nursery the other day! Mine is showing much more green than yours though-sounds like it might be a matter of temperature. I like the all purple, but my green and purple is nice too. πŸ™‚

    Hi Dreamybee, it has been written that the cold makes the leaves get more purple. My seedlings were quite green until they went out into the cold frame. Yours may turn darker as it ages. I wonder if it will turn back in the summer? BTW, loved your superpower post.

  11. Marnie says:

    Good morning Frances. All your seedlings are doing so well. I’ve wanted to grow ornamental kale forever but I encourage so many cabbage butterflies that I’m afraid it would be a mess. It is so pretty and looks wonderful in the garden or planter.

    Hi Marnie, good morning. Those caterpillars are a huge problem here too. I cannot grow any of the cabbage, broccoli family of plants. I don’t spray so there is no hope, other than the floating row covers which I have purchased to give it a shot. Supposedly you just lay the fabric over the plants and they grow up and push the layer up with the leaves, no hoops necessary. At least that was the claim. As for the redbor kale, it doesn’t matter so much since it is for pretty, and after the butterfly season the new leaves were unharmed. We’ll see how it goes this year. Maybe the kale is not as tasty as the other brassicas. I might try to pick off the caterpillars too. But we do have those white butterflies in huge numbers, along with other butterflies that I love. I can stand a few holes in leaves, but don’t want to bite into a squirmy thing!

  12. Rose says:

    I really need to plant some kale this year–“Kale me irresponsible”…oh my, I need a cup of coffee this morning:) Anyway, I love the purplish tinge of the curly leaves, and my garden could use something besides mums in the fall.

    Your seedlings are all doing so well, but I think some of them are yearning to go outside just as we are.

    Hi Rose, ooh, good one! HA The kale is usually seen for sale in the fall, that’s why I planted the seeds then, but of course those offered at nurseries were probably started months in advance. I am trying to get the hand of that, like the pros do it. I wish the greenhouse was larger, but we will be able to put stuff out later this week, and then bring it back in the next week. But some can go in the cold frame set up, like the kale and herbs. I need to work on that cold frame, it collapsed in the wind.

  13. Robin says:

    Your seedlings are doing so well! I don’t know why I never thought to grow lettuce under the grow lights; your lettuce looks great!

    It looks like you may have started some of your seeds too early like I did last year. The year I grew moonflowers, I thought they would take over before I could get them outside.

    I’m planning on starting my seeds on Monday.

    Hi Robin, thanks. Lettuce has been the biggest success story under the lights. I have bought some more varieties to liven things up a bit. Next year I will start more in November and maybe even October to have fresh greens all winter. There are a couple of things that have gotten larger than expected. The Cobaea in particular. But you learn by doing, right? The cold frame will house some of the stuff, buy of course the plants are not sorted in the large trays by when they can go outside. That is another lesson learned here. Good luck with your seeds. I look forward to watching their progress.

  14. Monica says:

    Firstly, hello! Secondly, I too love kale. When my mom made it in the 70s no one knew what I was talking about. The seedlings are cute and the grown plant is gorgeous. My six kale seedlings were grouondhog fodder last year. BOO! Thirdly, those salvia seedling are so fuzzy I feel I can also “pet” them (noogie noog!) through the monitor. Um, you DO pet your plants, right?? Fourthly, in other news, the second seed swap packet (that went to non-bloggers) also made its way home. Hooray!

    Hello to you Monica. I guess your mom and I were on the same page back then, I planted kale in my very first garden at my own house in PA then. I couldn’t believe you could plant something while it was so cold there, end of March but they grew well. Nobody wanted to eat it, but it was a healthy plant. Ooh, groundhogs are bad. My son in Asheville has a big problem with them eating their veggies too. I do pet some plants, lamb’s ear are my faves, and I like to run my fingers through the stipa grass too. The tomatoes aren’t safe either, I love that smell. Hooray, I second it, for your returning seed swap package. So fun to see all the different things people offer up. The bisignona tomatoes are looking really good. Better than the ones we will see for sale soon here even. The timing was spot on for their sowing. Must make a note of that.

  15. Dave says:


    My experience with kale is limited at best but I think you can put it out a few weeks before the last frost and expect it to handle most minor frosts. If a really cold one come you can do the old milk jug trick. Fill it with water and during the day it will absorb the heat and release it at night. You can also cover it with a milk jug if it fits underneath. It may not be too attractive, but it might save them from the frosts. I’ll be putting some spinach and chard in this week.

    Hi Dave, thanks for that. I have a stash of milk jugs, Mayfield of course since the headquarters is in my town. I keep them in the garage fridge filled with water as filler to help the fridge keep cool when there is little else in there. I don’t care what it looks like, the netting and chicken wire look terrible too, but are necessary until the stuff gets bigger and there is more other food available for the rabbits. Someday I need to make a better fencing set up that is more attractive. I did get some row cover that might be used too. I am waiting for the ground to thaw and will measure and plan the veggie bed this week. Good luck with yours.

  16. Dreamybee says:

    Thanks, Frances, the super power post was fun. I’d love it if people would continue to participate in that one! I forgot to tell you also that I have an award for you at my blog. πŸ™‚

    Hi Dreamybee, yes that was a fun thing to think about, what super power you would most like to have. And thanks so much for the award. I have a special page with a link on my sidebar for those. Sort of a trophy case to keep them seperate. I have placed it there for anyone who is interested to take it for themselves and pass it along if they wish to. Thanks again for thinking of me.

  17. iona says:

    I love your Hellebores and I’m so jealous to see you have such an amazing variety. Your garden is simply amazing. Thanks Frances you made my morning.

    Hi Iona, thanks. I started with four plants, three different colors, none of them named, just H. orientalis. The rest are babies of those four. Nothing can beat free plants. Each one is slightly different with the freckles, etc. I am glad to have added to your day. That makes my day. πŸ™‚

  18. I wish I liked to eat Kale, then I could say I was growing edibles. It is a beautiful plant. I just love your shot of the Stipa in the sunlight.

    Hi MMD, HA! I think just because you don’t eat it doesn’t mean it isn’t an edible. You are a regular veggie farmer! I don’t eat the rosemary or thyme, but call them edibles too. There are others out there eating them, like those that eat nastursium blossoms and violets and pansies. We used to, the kids would pick them out of the salads though, so I quit making the effort. πŸ™‚ I love the way the stipa is catching the sun right now too. It’s the best view outside, the daffs and hellebores are all laying down until the weather warms up, hopefully tomorrow.

  19. Nicole says:

    Very lovely pics-tempting is more the word. Makes me want to run out to the kitchen garden and sow some more seeds! I tried growing kale a couple times without much success though I know people grow kale well here. Meanwhile, my basil, mint, arugula, mizuna and nasturtiums are doing well.

    Hi Nicole, and let me say congratulations on having the first tomatoes! They are good looking too. πŸ™‚ Thanks for being tempted. Not sure what could be the problem with your kale starting, but do keep trying!

  20. kanak says:

    Beautiful colour of the kale and stunning photos as usual, Frances. Yours is a dream garden…all the tender plants seem to be doing so well. Simply love the last shot of your gorgeous garden!

    Hi Kanak, thanks so much. Your coral tree was magnificent! The greenhouse is holding the baby seedlings safe and sunny for now, but soon they will have to go outside. I hope the weather cooperates. The last shot is of the daylily hill and the main view from the room where I sit with the laptop. It is good inspiration. πŸ™‚

  21. I wish I had wider windowsills.


    Hi Lucy, so nice to see you. These are metal rods that hold removable brackets screwed to either side of the window walls that hold shelves. No windowsills necessary! My daughter Semi has them too in her sunny window and has great success with seedlings with no lights or other fancy stuff. You might try that if you’d like. πŸ™‚

  22. skeeter says:

    Patience my dear, patience. Good things come to those which wait. Dont be too quick to rid the greenhouse of venerable babies as Mother Nature is acting a bit fickle these days. I have sweet pea seed and decided to plant the seed in the ground verses the No Luck with seedlings last year. Sigh, poor things died from lack of rain fall. So this year, the seed will go into the ground and we will see what happens. I think they may be scattered this weekend with 70-degree temps.

    As soon as I saw your last pic, I was thinking it resembled a grave scene then you mentioned Dead of winter so I was on the right track ;-)… Love the green trees in the background…

    HA Skeeter, you are so right. We must be patient and wait until the time is right to move the babies out. Mother Nature has been quite the beast this year as far as cold goes. Our ground has been frozen for many days in between brief thaw periods. That is not the norm here at all. I can usually at least dig every day, but not this year. I have sweet peas in the ground too but thought I would try some indoors to see what happens. The rabbits are very bad about eating the ones in the ground but I have two layers of chicken wire around them this time. I thought the seeds just weren’t coming up, but they were getting eaten to the ground as the germinated. I guess the daylily hill could be considered a grave scene! HA

  23. Catherine says:

    The kale is very pretty. I’ve never tried growing it, I just might if it’s that easy. We can plant our sweet pea seeds outside here now, I’ve also just started some indoors. I would think they could go out pretty soon. All of your seedlings look so nice.

    Hi Catherine, thanks. It really came up quickly from seeds, but I did use the heat mat. Sweet peas were also planted outside mid February, no sign of life yet but the ground has been frozen much of that time. That’s why I started some inside too, kind of insurance sweet peas, for I love them so. Glad to hear they can go out before the last frost date. That was a bit of a panic. πŸ™‚

  24. annetanne says:

    That kale looks great! I love those vegetables that can be grown as ornamentals, so I think I’m going to search this one.

    Hi Anne, thanks. I have way more veggies this year started and to be seed grown in the ground. The more ornamental ones are going to have to go into the flower beds. We shall see how that works out, but it sounds good, doesn’t it? Pretty and edible?

  25. Love the seedlings pictures. That kale is so attractive and has the most unusual leaves. I know exactly what you mean about not wasting a single plant. I don’t even like to the thin the seedlings but I know it has to be done.

    Hi Anna, thanks. The kale has been a success story, well that one plant has, anyway. I plan to have a few more in the same area and hope they do as well. Just like you, I cannot stand to waste those babies. I have done better this year and sown only a few seeds, but still try to save them all if possible. I need to thin the poppies right now, but haven’t done it. It is too painful.

  26. Darla says:

    Great stuff here. Are those flowers the sweet peas? Because I planted mine in the ground, they are up but not near as tall as the ones you show.

    Hi Darla, the sweet peas are the skinny things coming out of the jiffy peat pots in the foreground of the first seedling shot. I have some in the ground too, but thought I would try some inside for once, having seen it is magazines before as the way to grow them. It has been so cold here lately, maybe the inside started ones will bloom sooner. Glad to hear yours are up already, that means spring is near! πŸ™‚

  27. kerri says:

    The kale is a lovely color. We have some in the mesclun mix we grow. That’s always pretty until those nasty tiny black beetles eat it.
    I’m looking longingly at your seed pictures. It’s almost time to sew a few things here. I’m trying not to start too early!
    Frigid wind here again today. No spring in sight!

    Hi Kerri, thanks for visiting. We get those flea beetles on eggplant so bad that I don’t even grow it. The cabbage white butterfly caterpillar is the biggest pest here, but the plant recovers in the fall after the frost and grows clean leaves. I think the seeds may have been started too early here, but I wanted larger plants to go into the ground, like the ones they sell at the nurseries. Some may be that big, the tomatoes are looking good. It heats up very quickly here, and tiny plants just burn up. We shall see if this works with the larger sized ones, if we can keep them going until the weather warms up enough. We are having a cold wind too, but are expecting a warm up later this week. The view into the garden is deceiving with flowers blooming and sun shining. It is sharply cold.

  28. Brenda Kula says:

    The seedlings look patriotic almost. Like soldiers lined up and saluting the sun.

    Hi Brenda, HA. I guess soldiers in a row is allowed to grow the seedlings. I will try and be more artistic out in the garden. More like soliders in a drift. πŸ™‚

  29. teza says:

    Kale…. another one of those, ‘oh its a fall ornamental isn’t it?’ It looks stunning this time of year with its deep colourations! I love the grass and always imagine elderly fairies who can no longer flit around the garden, so instead sun themselves on rocks and throw up the golden tresses of their hair…. silly I know but I hold gardens as a very magical place! I have my first sprouts in what I think are the Meconopsis – see how many ‘days’ they last this time round. Not crossing any fingers that’s for sure!
    Wonderful photos- as always!

    Hi Teza, thanks. I thought that is was only grown in fall too, but have learned more about it now. The garden is very full of magic. I did a series of several posts about the fairies and their doings in the garden last year with the grand finale on midsummer night’s eve. Here’s wishing good luck on your Meconopsis! πŸ™‚

  30. Lythrum says:

    It’s really nice when something is both attractive and edible. πŸ™‚ Kale is one of my favorite greens, even though yours isn’t green. πŸ™‚

    Hi Lythrum, thanks, that is the best of combinations. I don’t have room for everything edible in the veggie garden to the more ornamental of them will be placed in garden beds. I have high hopes for the outcome. Shall we call the kale purples?

  31. Pam/Digging says:

    That Stipa garden is gorgeous, Frances! I love the arrangement.

    Hi Pam, thanks. The Stipa is the cornerstone of the daylily hill and offer year around interest. I love it too.

  32. patsi says:

    You amaze me how you seem to be growing or are nurturing sometime year round.
    Wow…sure do grow alot ! Not crazy about kale but it sure is pretty.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. The greenhouse keeps me sane during the winter, there’s no denying it. The orchids can only do so much for me, it is the seeds that give me sustenance. Very little of our kale gets eaten by humans. It is more for ornament. πŸ™‚

  33. Your greenhouse must be very lush and green! It must be quite a cheerful place on dreary days.


    Hi Cameron, thanks. It is a life saver, or mind saver, or mood saver would be the best description. I go in there several times a day and just look at the same stuff over and over when it is too cold or whatever to go outdoors.

  34. marmee says:

    just started my seeds today. i really am looking forward to my sprouts coming up. yours look so great. i love the look of the kale but noone will eat it here. is it benefical to plant for other reasons? soon we will all be in our gardens

    Hi Marmee, that sounds great and your choices look perfect. Good luck with your herbs and veggies! The kale is more of an ornamental here, but has been surprisingly hardy, still looking great after all that harsh winter cold.

  35. Bren says:

    The fourth photo on this blog is very POWERFUL! I would be honored if you stopped by my garden in the Midwest. I am a big fan of yours. THANK YOU for sharing your love of gardening and photography.

    Hi Bren, thanks so much. I could not access your blog, it said by invitation only. Thanks for visiting, however.

  36. So nice to see such happy young plants, Frances. Currently I’m struggling with whether or not to start seedings indoors where I’m not home part of the week, and you know how intolerant seedlings are of neglect (not that you’d ever neglect them, of course, but they sure can be finicky). guess I’d best make up my mind soon…
    A couple of years ago I did a fall container arrangement using a very handsome flowering kale, a bronze hair grass (Carex), and Persian Shield, Strobilanthes. It was extremely neat because everything cast a handsome metallic sheen and it was a nice counterpoint to the usual fall colours.

    Hi Jodi, thanks. I have found that the light set up doesn’t need daily vigilence. Once you get the seeds germinated, the plastic lid needs to be removed though. Your arrangement in the container sounds delightful, naturally, for you are so good at that! I will look for the Strobilanthes to add to mine. The local nursery always offers a good variety of them. Thanks for the idea! I grow several of the Carex, they are perennial here.

  37. Barbara says:

    Frances, I think it’s great to show just how much you can do on a windowsill, rather than thinking you must have a light table. The Redbor is fabulous – am headed over to Johnnys now. Isn’t that stipa lovely – just have a wee bit of it here – always overjoyed when I have a year when it makes it through the winter.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, but I have to admit that those seedlings began on a heat mat then under lights. When they got large enough they went to the shelves mounted on brackets on either side of the windows. I am thrilled to hear you can overwinter the stipa, hope lives!

  38. kate says:

    Ah, it’s a joy to see all the seedlings. The Salvia seedlings look so healthy. I am enjoying the vision of the sweet peas twining everywhere before they are sent outdoors. The Kate is gorgeous ~ I like the colour. Must think of this for the front garden.

    Hi Kate, so nice to see you again, thanks for visiting. The lights have made quite a difference with the size of the seedlings. Once they get larger, they go to the real sun by the windows and skylights. I was glad to learn that the sweet peas can go out soon. There is already a Cobaea vine in the greenhouse that has world domination on its mind.

  39. Sweet Bay says:

    Your seedlings look fantastic! I bet these lettuce is good, it looks so tender.

    Hi Sweetbay, thanks. The lettuce is so tender it doesn’t even taste like lettuce, so soft and moist. I loved reading about your beloved Molly.

  40. CurtissAnn says:

    Oh, my look at that! Are seeds amazing? Seeing this does make my mouth water, and my heart long to garden. Hmmm…the spirit is willing, but the body is reluctant. πŸ™‚

    Hi Curtissann, thanks. This is the last cold day today then it is supposed to warm up for a while. My body is very ready to go out into the warm sunshine. Enough freezing.

  41. joey says:

    I see lots of goodies, Frances, a sure sign spring is anxious to spring!

    Hi Joey, yes, it is getting very close. The cold is supposed to break tomorrow and the anticipation is so thick it could be cut with a butter knife. πŸ™‚

  42. Cornelia says:

    What lovely pictures! The pea shoots look so hopeful – stretching themselves out toward the sun. Love it.
    I’ve just started my apartment lettuce-growing operation – can’t wait!

    Hi Cornelia, thanks and welcome. The sweet peas are growing at an alarming rate for being inside. If they were out in the garden it would be thrilling. Good luck with your lettuce and upside down tomatoes!

  43. Hi Frances~
    I love the way the sweet pea vine seedlings are reaching for the sun, they look so determined. Will you be able to plant everything in the ground soon?

    Happy planting!

    Hi Karrita, thanks. The sweet peas are growing very fast, but people have said they can go in the ground soon, thank goodness! Some things can go into the cold frame tomorrow, others, like the cosmos will have to wait until danger of frost has passed. Who knows how large they will be by then. Lesson learned. πŸ™‚

  44. TC says:

    It’s so warm here! We’ve still not got our seeds started yet. Soon!

    Hi TC, you’re joking, right? But seed starting may be on your calender soon, I hope. It is the closest thing to real gardening that can be done indoors. Loved your practice session! πŸ™‚

  45. philip says:

    Hi Frances,
    I do not post very much, but when I do it is heartfelt.
    I Love your posts.
    Frances: Can you get on Blotanical?
    I cannot.
    Well, I do hope it is up soon, but I am glad that I know how to comment here on your blog besides my dear Blotanical.
    In either way you inspire me wit6h your garden in all its seasons.
    I am having great fun kayaking, hiking, and just being in the world: it is so much fun!
    So, I do hope Blotanical is back up, but whatever happens, I have to say I am here having a great time doing things, extending my hand in friendship to you, my dear friend, Frances.
    Warm regards, and adventure,

    My dear Philip, thanks so much. It is always a joy to see that you have been to visit and I go right to your blog to check for a new story. All of your posts are thoroughly delightful and whenever you write a new one, please do let me know. As of right now, Blotanical is still down. It happens every now and then and I am sure Stuart is working on getting it up and running again. We must be patient and quietly send good thoughts his way to help him overcome whatever is causing the problem. Your outdoor activities sound wonderful. Be safe and have fun. We look forward to reading about it later. My hand is yours, my friend.

  46. layanee says:

    That kale is beautiful both ornamentally and vegetatively! Spell check doesn’t like those words but I think they work! The last shot of the Stipa is quite lovely. I have tried the Stipa but will have to be content looking at yours as the winters are too rough on it here.

    Hi Layanee, thanks, vegetatively works for me! The stipa is coming into its own here, after being spread into groups here and there. It really draws the eye. There are probably similar, but hardier grasses you could use?

  47. michelle says:

    Im going to try Kale this year for the first time. Its so lovely!

    Hi Michelle, thanks, do give it a try. The seeds germinated very easily. I loved learning about the Quebec garden too, thanks.

  48. The only kale I’ve ever grown was the ornamental kind, and not from seed but started plants and it’s not something I ever cook. But Frances, I just love to see all the seedlings growing! Peas outside in the ground germinated but my indoor seed-starting in pots has been an abysmal failure. It’s wonderful to see you succeed.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, thanks, so nice to see you. Apparently all the kale is edible, something I did not know. The older the leaves are, the tougher though, so best to nibble them while young. They are often included in the mesclun mixes at the grocery and restaurants, so you might have eaten some and not realized it! The seedlings are doing well, but are getting too big for the lights and the windows. Many have been moved to the cold frame, but we will have more below freezing temps if Mother Nature has her way. Not quite spring for us yet.

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