Spring came./He rooted up the nettles with his hands./He burnt them all, stamped on the clotted ash,/Tamping new seeds in, fingering stones aside./This work he wanted, his hands came alive./They wanted flowers to touch/But from his care/Only the tough nasturtiums came./They crawled/In sullen fire by the wall a week./But the soil was sour, the roots went unfed./Even they ceased to clutch, their heads fell forward.
From “The Gardener” by Dom Moraes
Although my nasturtiums do not share the fate of the ones in the poem, I included these lines because I love many of Dom Moraes’ poems. And being one of the easiest plants to grow, I wanted instant foliage and colour. But with winter being colder than other years, germination and growth took much longer. Since October I’ve been working on this small round patch that I have in the front of the house. The nasturtiums were planted in December.
After a slow growth the bed is full of colour now. It’s a mixed bed which also has gerbera daisies, stock, and petunias. Below you can see a re-seeder in a basket. That one and the one I found behind a pile of wood is doing really well. The one with orange blooms were bought from the nursery. Presumably healthier plants aren’t going as strong as my re-seeders!!
This South American native literally means nose-twister. The botanical name Tropaelum is from the Greek tropiaon, a trophy. In ancient Greece, shields and helmets of defeated enemy were fixed on tree trunks. Nasturtium leaves were thought to resemble shields, and the flowers were thought to resemble helmets. Although the flowers and leaves are edible, I’m not too keen on the taste as well as the smell. I’m sure most of you might find this strange.
One of my last dahlias struggling with its weight. I’ve used bamboo stakes but this one had outgrown the stick’s height. Very soon that bed will have other plants and the rain lilies will bloom.
After the drab look of winter, the leaves of my Brazil Raintree/Brunfelsia pauciflora is perking up and there are many buds on my small plant.
As for the yellow bougainvillea near my gate, it’s still going great guns but the yellow has paled somewhat.
In our parts winter is great for seasonal flowers. But this season with its wind and dust, and sometimes sudden showers, there’s new growth everywhere. Young shoots, buds, new leaves on trees, and plenty of bird activity. It’ll be worth photographing and documenting what I see around me…all over again.