What about Tropaeolum speciosum, the flame nasturtium, with brilliant red trumpets among the small dark leaves? This is the glory of Scottish gardens…
In Your Garden
November 24, 1946
Something rather peculiar happened when I was planning my garden back in April. I knew I wanted to plant seeds, two in particular; the zinnia and the morning glory. But a picture of a brilliant red flower caught my eye so I picked up the packet to examine it. I had never seen nor heard of the nasturtium before. However, I didn’t want to bother with new seeds I knew nothing about so I put it back…or so I thought.
I came home that day and discovered the packet in my purchase bag as if Vita herself had put it there. I took this as her spirit coaxing me to try them. I carried her spirit with me a lot in those early days of spring, unsure and uneducated in the way of gardening. But she helped me very much, and I do believe this was her way of coaxing me along to experiment. So I did.
They soon came up in these cute little clumps of lily pad-like leaves and they grew and multiplied; covering the ground, expanding and taking over my bare areas where I needed the extra growth. I love the leaves with their defined veins reminiscent of exploding stars, and the tiny flowers hide inside their abundance as if they were a secret. My Grandma came over and noticed them. She told me that her mother, my Great Grandmother use to grow nasturtiums all the time. This I never knew. However, I waited a long time for them to flower. They took all summer to do so, but they are lovely! They are indeed like flames among the green, coming in bright orange and brilliant red.
The other day I experimented by clipping a few of the flowers for a vase. Although they didn’t last more than a week it was a good opportunity to see the flowers close up and get a whiff of their delicious scent, which is like a delicate baby powder. They are so low to the ground one would have to get on one’s hand and knees to smell them. I’ve often thought that next year I should try them in pots. That way I can move them around to my liking and have them burst and melt over the sides of the pot. They will also be at eye and nose level for my ultimate delight. I do recommend these curious ground loving plants. Go ahead and grow something different. As Vita would say, “Try“.