Last spring we made a big change to the structure of our garden which resulted in a new perennial bed. Since the perennials were still quite small and lacklustre, I made use of the gaps and filled them in with an assortment of seeds including annual flowers, herbs, and greens. All of the plants I put in were in the black/maroon/burgundy colour palette.
In the summer I tucked some Italian radicchio (Cichorium intybus) seeds underneath the tomatillos and pretty much forgot about them until this beautiful, sprawling rosette appeared and threatened to suffocate some of the succulents that make up the bed’s border. The variety in this photo is ‘Rossa di Verona.’ The entire rosette is a massive 20″ wide! Radicchio are pretty, edible, and surprisingly cold tolerant. In fact, dark varieties like this one reach their deepest, best colour in the fall. It makes me wonder why radicchio do not show up in the fall/winter garden alongside ornamental cabbages and chrysanthemums?
As an experiment I intend to cut the heads when these are ready, but leave the root and old leaves to keep growing. Some radicchio varieties have overwintered in my garden before, so it will be interesting to see if this variety comes back.