Summer’s Glorious Peltate Nasturtia


We love nasturtiums here at Marklewood, but have long-abandoned any hope of maintaining their seasonal glory past the early “Dog Days”. July’s swelter can twist the healthiest of trailing blooms into a writhing braid of viney carnage. Nonetheless, their flat, peltate leaves fascinate Henry and me, as does the perfect palette that a generic multicolor may yield. The nasturtium is always ornamental, often herbal, and sometimes edible.

They give me great joy when they cascade from the rims of weathered aquamarine villa pots that adorn our back stoop.

This year, however, circumstances prevent me from undertaking my usual and obsessive gardening. Yet the yard is a lush oasis of leafy grandeur and effulgent underbrush. The hydrangea are weighted with “Carolina” blue pons. My most cherished of houseplants, the ancient begonias Ruby and Ruby Too, continue to thrive with the former now flaunting a four foot span.

The tea-roses that survived Jon’s marathon 2010 hospital stay continue to proudly appoint a distant birdbath. And lavender impatiens trail down the front of a gargantuan pine that guards our humble home, maintaining vigilant sentry a mere eight feet from our door.

What we need is more color. What I want is a tray of nasturtiums. I need to dig my hands into the pungent potting soils if part of some communal seeding ritual. Nature beckons.

Alas. A lone artist rendering must suffice until the next Spring planting season. I am already “feeling” it and plotting placement of such  understated, yet elegant cress.

Ah, yes. I can visualize at once that fetching “Viennese Teardrop”, Luise Rainer, in some long-misplaced cinematic chestnut. She wears tattered gardening gloves, a sensible smock, and a beam of satisfaction: “The nasturtia are in bloom again.”

Fie! I couldn’t resist the obvious, Miss Hepburn. Your days lie ahead.

(Image: “The Season’s Last Nasturtiums” by Janet Laura Scott.)

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