As soon as nasturtiums begin to appear on the edges of the vegetable beds they are a source of great comfort to me. The fat seeds were pushed into the ground in May and the small plants have recently emerged in full leaf although not all are in flower. The comfort is that these vivid flowers will add colour on the allotment from July till early winter. They die rather dramatically when the temperature drops but the seeds are visible and can be saved in a paper bag till next spring/summer. A favourite is the well-behaved N. ‘Alaska’ for its non-rampant habit and for the gorgeous variegated, white and light-green leaves. Nasturtiums self-seed prolifically and thrive in the most impoverished soil and once you’ve checked for bugs the flowers and young leaves can be added to salads.
Below is a sweet watercolour of nasturtiums painted by my friend Ruth.