Wednesday, November 16, 2016


I planted my first packet of nasturtium seeds when I was about 12 years old.
I don't recall if I had selected the seeds and paid for them from my allowance, or if my father brought them home.
I planted the seeds in what had once been a play area on the north side of our small house, a spot that was also open to mid-morning sunshine.
The seeds germinated and soon the scarlet blooms appeared on long slender stems.
I planted nasturtiums there each year until I married and moved away.
Nasturtiums became a staple of my flower gardens.
I loved the variety 'Alaska' with its compact plants and white-splotched leaves.
'Empress of India' was a joy with smaller blue-green leaves, a trailing habit and small blooms of deepest red.

I had every expectation that nasturtiums would flourish in a porch planter in Kentucky.
I tucked in seeds of several varieties: 'Moonlight,' 'Whirlybird.' Dwarf Jewel--if they bothered to germinate they were pathetically feeble. 
I had hopes one summer that there might be a few blossoms, only to discover on a hot July morning that a visiting cabbage worm had destroyed the plants, leaf and bud.

This spring I bought a 4-pack of nasturtium starts, coddled them indoors on the pantry windowsill until warm weather moved in to stay.
I tucked them into a big pot, poked in sticks to discourage cultivation by cats, and more or less resigned myself to another failure.
The nasturtiums grew, producing long loops of green vine.  I wound them around a wicker support, watered, turned them toward the sun.
I was rewarded with a continuous parade of orange-red blooms.
By late August the plants had seen their best days, They were leggy, tired, but still producing flowers.
I snipped and propped, reluctant to let them go.
Discovering a two year old packet of seed, I tucked a few in amongst the weary stems.

By mid September I had vigorous plants, but wondered if frost would hold off long enough for blooms.

In this strange mild autumn there was no threat of frost until last week, and the first tiny buds swelled and opened.
On two chilly nights I swaddled the pot in an old tablecloth.

A week ago the forecast was for overnight temperatures of 29 F.
I lugged the pot through the house, into the sun room.

The best I can give it is a spot in one of the east windows.
Predictably, the lower leaves are turning yellow.
Still, for perhaps a week or two more I can enjoy a profusion of blooms, extending summer and having the joy of viewing my nasturtiums close by.


  1. I love the very bright red varieties, didn't have any this summer here in town but when we are back to the country next year they will definitely be sown again. The leaves are very tasty too!

  2. I have always grown Nasturtiums too. Mum always had them in the garden, and grew them up a trellis, rather than them tumbling down from a planter (no such thing in her day!) I love the very dark colours too, there's a mahogany one I've had in the garden this year. The orange ones are the most prolific though, and have ONLY just been stopped in their tracks by a few cold nights. When I am better I have to take about 3 wheelbarrows full from the raised bed where they have been rampaging all summer.

    Such lovely flowers though, and glad to see that yours are still bringing pleasure.

  3. I grow nasturtiums not only for their beauty but for their peppery leaves that are wonderful in a salad. It's nice when you can extend the season by bringing the plants inside. I overwinter rosemary and a bay tree. It looks like a jungle in here!


  4. I love Nasturtiums, we planted some the first year we were here and they were wonderful. Since then we've been unable to get them to grow

  5. Loved your applesauce post. Such goodness. Anyway, My mother always grew nasturtiums and I love them. I have almost changed completely to perennials but seeing your lovely blooms has made me think of planting nasturtiums next summer.

  6. How can anyone resist nasturtiums, such a wide range of pure, in your face colours, we have them planted just as you go into the drive, they welcome you home....

  7. Hi Morning's Minion! So nice to hook up again. Your nasturtiums look wonderful. We must try some for the bare patches around our ground cover. We have mostly plants in pots because of the need to conserve water and it is easier to control that way. Nasturtiums would do well closer to the bank of the creek, because the park sprinklers come on twice a week and would keep them watered. But we have a couple of places where I would like to see nasturtiums or perhaps jasmine.

    I see your cats are all thriving. :)