Beautiful Brassicas

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By Teresa Woodard

Yes, I’ve planted flowering kale to add fall color to borders and containers, but I had no idea how amazing brassicas — kales, cabbages, turnips, kohlrabi and mustards — could look in the landscape until last week when I visited the spring display gardens at the Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden in Columbia, SC.  Brassicas are best grown in cool seasons – spring and fall, so consider purchasing some plants to add this spring or planting some seeds in August for a fall show. Fellow blogger Deb Knapke will follow up this post with another on growing tips.

The Riverbanks’ spring display garden offers plenty of inspiration. Just check out these fanciful and edible leaves and clever planting combinations.


Ornamental Kale: Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group) ‘Peacock Red’

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Curly Kale: Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group) ‘Starbor’

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Kohlrabi: Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group) ‘Azur-Star’

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Cabbage: Brassica oleracea ‘OS Cross’

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Kohlrabi: Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group) ‘Delicacy Purple’

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White ornamental kale: Try the Crane series for cut flower arrangements.

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Upper right corner is Siberian Kale or Brassica napus (Pabularia Group) ‘Winter Red’


Giant Red Mustard produces a contrasting yellow flower.


Cool season flowering plants like pansies and violas make great companion plants for brassicas.

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Kohlrabi paired with violas


Collards take on more beauty as they flower here in yellow blooms.

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An planting of curly kale beneath a Chinese fringe tree



Visit Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ spring display in its 34,000-square-foot walled garden area.


Radicchio Cichorium Intybus ‘Fiero’ (Not a brassica but a beautiful edible.)

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Radicchio add eye-catching conical shapes in the spring display garden.

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A 300-foot-long canal featuring cascades and pinwheel fountains serves as the focal point of the impressive spring display in the walled garden at Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Cincinnati Blooms!

A million blossoms transform Cincinnati into a floral capital this weekend

By Michael Leach

The Cincinnati Flower Show’s orchids, bird of paradise, jasmine, gardenia, zinnias and hundreds of other types of flowers delight  visitors through Sunday (April 17) in park along the Ohio River downtown. IMG_9069

Not far from there, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden amazes visitors with the splendor of 107,000 tulips in full bloom. Under the brilliant sun, the satiny blossoms glow like stained-glass flowers.IMG_9173

Blogmate Teresa Woodard,  Diana Lockwood, The Columbus Dispatch garden writer and a Garden Writers Association newbie, and I were fortunate to attend a tour of both venues Wednesday with other GWA members. Part of the fun at the show was having Kevin O’Dell, of Kendrick & O’Dell Landscaping, as tour director. He’s one of the show’s organizers and long-time driving force.

At the zoo, Scott Beuerlein and Stephen Foltz pointed out highlights.

Our only regret? Lack of time. We never got to two other gardener must-sees, Spring Grove Cemetery and Krohn Conservatory. Maybe next year.

A World of Blooms

The 2016 Cincinnati Flower Show Celebrates Flowers of Sister Cities

By Michael Leach

The Cincinnati Flower Show is a dangerous event for all shades of green thumbs, the Pinterest-pixilated and those desperate to do something — anything — with their landscapes.


You’ll be inspired to attempt new and daring things with plants.

You’ll fall in love with window boxes and want to try them because you never imagined so much charm is possible in such small spaces.

You’ll be amazed at the appealing model landscapes showing what’s possible in spaces not much bigger than a half dozen window boxes.

Findlay market


Your jaw will hurt from dropping so often at flowery table settings that make you wonder how they ever thought of that.

You’ll be tempted to overload your vehicle with unusual plants, elegant garden accessories, imaginative jewelry, horticulturally themed art and

You’ll indulge in savories and sweets that cater to all manner of tastes.

You’re likely to be lured into sampling wine or bourbon at planned tastings. (Kentucky is just across the wide, muddy Ohio River.)

You’ll be able to choose from a range of educational experiences, such as a luncheon lecture by Andrea Wulf, author of garden and gardening history books; a Q&A with Ron Wilson, host of a weekly call-in radio program, and  Rita Heikenfeld, herbalist and culinary whiz; learning about wedding flower from Sharon McGukin, author and floral designer; and gathering design tips from a former White House chief florist.

You’ll wish you had scheduled even more time to tour the horticultural treasures the city offers.20150411_111206_001

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