Dad’s Nasturtiums   Leave a comment






My father loved nasturtiums and always grew a small patch right by his front door.  It was a square patch, cut out of the grass by his sidewalk, usually surrounded by 4 mismatched stakes and some string.  I’m not sure why, I never asked, probably to keep his golden retriever from stepping on them.  My father was a talented gardener, but it was all about the plants, not the design.  He stuck things everywhere in his yard.  So the individual flowers were beautiful, but the overall effect was not so great.  Funny, his vegetable garden looked better, he was meticulous about planting in straight lines, so except for the odd things he used to support the plants, that garden looked pretty good.

Anyway, one year, a couple years ago,  he had some really pretty orange/yellow nasturtiums, which I remarked that I liked, so he gave me some seeds from the plant.  I put them in an envelope in the basement with all my other seeds, but didn’t plant them.  I’ve been planting nasturtiums in my windowbox, along with other things, and I’ve been going for the red Empress of India lately, although they really don’t do well in the windowbox, I’ve tried several years in a row.

My father passed away in January, he was 84 and had had a stroke last summer, so it wasn’t a surprise, but it’s been a really tough spring for me.  We always shared our gardening passion – “have you planted your petunia seeds yet?”  or “I picked my first tomato, have you gotten one yet?”.  We both start plants from seed, but he always did the tomatoes.  Long after I improved my skills and was quite capable of starting my own tomatoes, I always let him do my tomatoes, he loved to share his plants.  So this year I had to start my own tomatoes.  I decided it was time to do a better job with the nasturtiums.  I’ve heard they don’t like transplanting, so I always direct seeded them into the window boxes.  This year I decided to try making newspaper pots, and starting them indoors where I could keep a better eye on their moisture needs, and then plant only the ones that are successful into the window box.  All of my seeds were a couple years old, I only got one Empress of India, which still didn’t do very well in the windowbox, but I got 3 from “Dad’s nasturiums” and planted them in my garden near the May night. (Dad loved the orange/purple combination in the garden.  Although I just said he didn’t really plant for design, he was the first person to tell me to plant my poppies next to my blue flag iris).

The 3 I got are in the photo above.  All three have different colored flowers, even though I know we took the seeds from just one of his plants, because I liked that particular color.  I guess that’s the bees cross pollinating, or maybe this variety of nasturium doesn’t come true.  But all 3 colors are very vibrant like I remember the one he grew to be, and I’m very glad I had a little bit of Dad in my garden this summer.


Posted September 15, 2011 by cindyeo in garden, nasturtium

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