Marty's Garden, Late June 2020

We finally had rain! A storm dumped 0.6 inches of rain in about an hour and I could hear a sigh of relief from my garden. The roses immediately put on new growth and everything is standing a little taller and straighter.  


With June 21st behind us, we have headed into summer and with it the days are growing shorter again. Why, oh why couldn’t days grow shorter starting with fall and grow longer again in spring. I would be perfectly happy with nine months of longer days and can live with three months of short and cool/cold days. However, life doesn’t work that way and I will have to live with the seasons the way they are.  


Last year I put hardy geraniums in my garden. They seem to be a staple in English gardens judging by how often I saw them in British garden shows and I decided to get some; again. You see, I had them in my NJ garden at one time and while I liked them in the beginning, once they took off, I didn’t care for the way they sprawled in my garden. Fast forward a decade plus and here I am buying five pots of them. I put them in the long border coming into the garden; spaced out between yellow as well as orange daylilies and parsley. Soon they were growing and yes, they sprawled, again. But this time their sprawling habit, weaving through the daylilies and parsley, was charming. Here was a plant connecting through its neighbors without suffocating them. When I put the new front garden bed in, I bought more of them and planted them throughout. Now they weave themselves through the purple kale and I could not have asked for a better combination. The varieties used in my garden are Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and ‘Rozanne and Friends’; both of which are a purply-blue. They combine well with anything yellow or orange, as well as with blue or purple. 


Geranium 'Rozanne'

My garden doesn’t include a vegetable garden but the purple kale, while certainly edible, was bought purely as an ornamental plant. I am hoping to find the same purple kale plants in fall, as my current kale will probably bolt over the summer, set seed and die. Kale is a plant which should be planted in fall and which can be harvested throughout early winter. Kale is best after a light frost and in Holland my father grew plenty of kale in his vegetable garden. We always had kale as “stamppot”; a typical Dutch dish. You boil potatoes as well as your vegetable and then mix both in a big dish. It’s a great dish for kids as the mix of potatoes and vegetables (kale, or any cabbage, sauerkraut or even brussels sprouts) goes down a lot easier then eating bites of vegetables. A little bit of light gravy over it all and you have the perfect winter AND comfort food. But, my purple kale with ‘Rozanne’ sprawling through it will stay in the garden for as long as it will live. It’s just too pretty to eat!