Friday, July 5, 2013

Grow Write Guild #8: The Essence of Summer

Grow Write Guild

Write about the plant that best encapsulates the essence of summer.
This is an ongoing series of prompts for gardeners/writers from, anyone can participate.

When I first read this prompt my mind went to vegetables. But, I've only been trying to grow vegetables for a couple of years, so to me that just doesn't sum up the "Essence of Summer." I think my choice is related to memories of summer and one plant that is has been a constant in my mom's garden. 

My first thought, aside from vegetables, was of nasturtiums. They come in bright, sunny colors in orange, red and yellow. They have a faint fragance, more noticable in small bouquets. My mom used to pick them and place them in a small red glass vase on the kitchen counter. While they are used in salads, we never ate nasturtiums. I remember earwigs living inside the blooms and scurrying out of the bouquets across the counter.

These flowers are not cut flowers, the plants only grow about a foot tall and the stems are not sturdy. But, as far back as I remember, my mom would plant the seeds along the edge of the lawn and cut bouquets until the first frost. Last year I planted seeds for her and they didn't do well, the spot was too shady. That happens when all the trees you remember as small grow up and become shade trees. This year she hadn't planted any yet so I potted some I'd grown from seed for her back deck.

I don't remember planting any nasturtium seeds until recently when I began to do container gardening. The last two years I've started them from seed and used them in containers on the deck and at the community garden. To me they just seem right for the vegetable garden.

Nasturtiums and a tomato plant last year on the deck

Last year in the community garden

Nasturtiums in this year's garden


  1. I love nasturtiums!
    I couldn't find any vining ones at the local nurseries this year, only the bush variety, and I had a mental image of their bright reds and yellows and oranges flowing over borders and up a pallet I "acquired" (ok I trash picked it, but it's in super shape!)
    Your pictures captured what I was too late to start from seed this year, and has inspired me to get an earlier start next winter. It's wonderful that you supply your mother with these beauties.

    1. I've never tried the climbing nasturtiums, but recently saw them on a trellis on a pump house in the country. I've got the perfect trellis on my deck to try them out on next year.