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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

I Never Saw This Before

One thing that I have discovered in my years of taking almost daily neighborhood walks is that, even though I am walking where I have walked many times before, if I keep my eyes open, I can still find and see things that I have never seen before. Such was the case a few weeks ago when I saw these blooms in front of a neighbor's house. There were lots of lovely delicate blooms rising from a very long stalk. What could it be? On closer examination I realized this stalk was rising from the middle of one of the ornamental kale plants that had been planted in the yard. I have often seen these plants, both purple and green varieties many times over the years, and have even planted them a few times myself. The green plants are known as ornamental cabbage, and the similar red, pink, and purple plants are actually called flowering kale. They are considered biennials, and do not bear flowers until the second year. But we rarely get to see them bearing flowers because they don't tolerate hot weather and are usually pulled out of the garden in the spring of their first year. Obviously my neighbors had overlooked this plant when doing their flower gardening last spring. And even more miraculously, it had survived our hottest summer days. When the two year old flowering kale sends out its stalk of flowers that is called "bolting." These flowers and their stalks can be eaten. The stalks should be cooked before eating to tenderize them a bit, but the well-washed flowers, which have a sweet taste, can be eaten mixed in with other salad greens. I don't know if my neighbors tried doing that or not, but the next time I walked by their house the plant and its flower stalk were gone. I am glad that I got to see it before they removed it. It was something I had never seen before, and was actually pretty impressive.

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