Purple People Eatin’s

As if they’re making up for lost time, the Gardens of Eatin’ have been producing at a rate that’s hard to keep up with. Today alone, our awesome volunteers helped us to collect twenty pounds of ‘Fordhook’ zucchini, half a bushel of ‘Provider’ green beans, about a dozen purple radishes and hardy amounts of ‘Red Genovese’ basil, fennel and ‘Calypso’ cilantro. Expect to see these fresh selections featured on the Arboretums restaurant menu.

There are plenty of other luscious and vibrant plants aside from what is ready to be harvested. As you stroll through the Home Demonstration gardens, it’s not difficult to notice this summer’s color palette of purple and orange. But purple definitely seems to be a favorite for Landscape Gardener Ted Pew.

Eustoma grandiflorum
Eustoma grandiflorum

This herbaceous biennial can be found in the Home Demo’ cutting garden. It’s showy blooms and hardy roots make it a great ornamental choice for Minnesota gardeners–not intended for eating, but very purple, nonetheless.

Purple cayenne pepper bloom
Purple cayenne pepper bloom

Nestled into the ‘All-American’ garden, these Purple Cayenne peppers are also an ornamental variety. Though completely edible, they are known better for their striking lavender blooms and rich, Merlot-colored fruits.

Capsicum annuum
Capsicum annuum

Lastly, this variety of basil is much bolder than the traditional green herb. According to Ted, this species is highly resistant to the various diseases and mildews that often plague the more popular sweet basil varieties. In addition, its ruffled edges and unique burgundy/violet shade of purple make it a stand-out addition to any herb garden. To those who are curious: it tastes very similar to regular basil but carries a unique zest of its own.

Ocimum basilicum 'Purple Ruffles'
Ocimum basilicum
‘Purple Ruffles’

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