A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 52 – Nasturtium


“Super Seed” – Summer 2013 – The Garden Table Urban Garden – Rebecca Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – Two packs of seeds and almost every flower was orange… I had one deep red one… And this guy… I liked this one and saved the seeds…

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Apologies in advance… This one may have gotten away from me…

Although the plant I am featuring today is known as Nasturtium… I think it is very important to recognize the little fact that this plant is not actually Nasturtium… But is actually Tropaeolum majus… “Garden Nasturtium” just happens to be one of the latters common name… It is so common in fact that the seed companies even use it… Honestly… If they put the real name of this plant on the package… No one would even know what it is…

I have always been more interested in the common names than the scientific names of plants… I have only had a very small number of people ask me a question using proper names… They always have some regionally based common name… Not that the proper names don’t have a place… And I do work on them… A friend actually got me a “Plant Name Pronunciation Dictionary” for Christmas… His answer to my complaint that I have never pronounced a plants proper name around my Penn State Extension friends without being corrected… After making the pronunciation changes… It is not uncommon to have someone else correct me back to my original pronunciation… For this reason… My pronunciations book has proven to be irreplaceable…

Nasturtium is an edible plant… It has a very peppery taste… Some would even go as far as to consider it food… I do not… I consider the fact that it is edible to be nothing more than a novelty… I try to view edible plants in two categories… Food and fodder… Nasturtium is one I consider fodder… Primarily because I am not a fan of the taste… But also because I value this plant as an ornamental… I love the blossoms… Like a mouth full of sharp teeth trying to bite my finger off… The leaves are also interesting… They have a blue-green shade that is different from other leaves… This contrast alone makes Nasturtium stick out in a garden…


“Curling Up” – Summer 2013 – Center Street – Wilkinsburg, PA – Some Nasturtium form clump-like plants… Others tend to vine… All plants that grow like a vine… Though they way crawl along the ground… Or flop over a wall… Are actually trying to grow up towards the sun… Using the flower photographed above as an example… As the vine grows it hangs over the edge… You can clearly see the vine attempting to curl towards the sun… If the plant manages to curl back around on itself it will climb right back up to the pot…

Nasturtium is one of those plants that seems to commonly be associated with permaculture… Like Comfrey or PawPaw… I am always surprised at the lack of originality when it comes to permaculture “culture”… The amount of permaculture logos that use the Comfrey blossom is just ridiculous… Nasturtium comes in a close second…

This is just one of the things that bugs me about permaculture… Do you have any idea how few people actually like the taste of Nasturtium… Likewise… Not very many people even know what Comfrey is… I have been told my gardens are not permaculture gardens because I grow more than food… My answer to this comment was very direct and simple… I calmly explained that permaculture has nothing to do with the type of plants in your garden… It has nothing to do with style… It is a way of thinking… And to tell someone else that they are not a “permie” because of their plant choices – well – that is the exact opposite of permaculture… In fact… It is the very definition of asshole… And I made sure I explained that very clearly… Like painfully clear… Then I walked away… My time is valuable… Not in terms of money… But in terms of life… I don’t have enough time in my life to worry about people I consider a negative influence on myself or the people around me… Our job as permaculturists is to design in a way that will attract the beneficial… And repel the destructive… Not just in our gardens… But in our lives as well…

A true permaculturist recognizes that all plants play a role in helping our environment… Hardcore permaculturists preach acceptance everywhere they go… But in hindsight… They are often the least accepting group of people out their… Permaculture is not a defined line in the sand… It is a curved line that is constantly changing shape… As permaculturists… We need to change with it… We need to accept the fact that there are things (and people) that we cannot change… But we can change ourselves… And I believe we can do it in a way that doesn’t leave us looking like self-righteous assholes… Lead by example… Not by force…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropaeolum_majus

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

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5 thoughts on “A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 52 – Nasturtium

  1. SimplySage says:

    Well said, Chris. If the only purpose a plant has is to simply be beautiful and bring joy and wonder then it has served great purpose. It feeds the heart.


  2. John Hric says:

    limiting negative forces – a black hole to ones own energy. wise choice – and quite a lovely nasturtium ! hope those seeds run true.


  3. Excellent rant….change…the optimum word for a happy life….
    Love and hugs…ME and the Boss


  4. Hi Chris, Peter and Keith, the editor & webmaster of “Permaculture Activist” magazine, the longest-running permaculture mag in existence, live outside my hometown of Bloomington, and their Renaissance Farm site is packed with flowers growing right up against veggies. Even if they don’t eat the flowers, they figure the flowers are necessary for their hive of bees. Your instincts for mixing flowers in with veggies are completely valid! Flower on with a smile.


  5. serinaserina says:

    You make everything sound so simple, your knowledge of plants in what i’d call the younger generation is impressive & i’m glad i’m learning most of it through your blog…keep it up!


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