Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire

Edible ornamentals #3

Barbarea vulgaris variegata

Barbarea vulgaris variegata

We started growing Barbarea vulgaris ‘variegata’ this year as an ornamental groundcover plant – its attractive variegation and dense low growth make it an interesting and unusual plant for the front of a herbaceous border.   But knowing that its leaves are also edible, we added a few to our potager to see how they’d perform as a salad plant.

And so far, they’ve proved very worthwhile – we’ve had several pickings from the plants for salad leaves, and they’ve added a very striking splash of colour to the plot.   They were looking a bit tired by the autumn, so we cut them hard back, and they’ve now recovered to rosettes like the one in the photo.   We reckon we’ll get another picking or two off them before winter sets in (when we think they’ll retreat underground – some catalogues list them as herbaceous, some as evergreen!).

They are also listed as both perennial and biennial in different seed catalogues, so we’re interested to see what they do next spring – if they prove to be reliably perennial, they’ll be a very easy and worthwhile addition to the veg garden.   And if they prove to be only biennial, they’ll still be worth growing – we’ve been picking leaves since late spring so they have a good long growing season, they have a lovely peppery water cress flavour, and they look nice (in the garden and on a plate!).

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