Levin woman Betty Gatland keeps an amazing garden.

The surroundings of her Levin home are a food basket, a mixture of vegetables and fruit trees among a kaleidoscope of colour coming from a sprinkling of carefully attended flowers and shrubs.

But among the pretty plot is an oddity, a stranger that arrived unannounced. A huge and healthy kale plant has taken root in the tiniest crack on a step to her front door.

Gatland could only attribute the genesis of the towering plant to a bird seed feeder she had hung above the steps two Christmases ago.


"It was a seed comb that hung down. My son and daughter-in-law bought it for me as a Christmas present. The birds loved it," she said.

"That's all I can put it down to. But I don't know what it's living on. It had grown from the tiniest of cracks," she said.

"I've shown all my friends. I can't grow a cabbage like that in the garden," she said.

Betty Gatland.
Betty Gatland.

It looked like a normal cabbage to begin with, but was showing no signs of developing a head. It smelt like a cabbage, and the leaves tasted like cabbage.

It now had developed a thick stalk wider than her wrist.

"It has to be kale," she said.