Sunday, September 04, 2011

The pluses and minuses of nasturtiums

click photo to enlarge
I have mixed feelings about nasturtiums. I like the leaf shape, the colours and shapes of the flowers and, by and large their trailing growth habit. I especially like the varieties with dark green/blue leaves and deep red flowers - "Empress of India" is a good example of this type. What I'm not so keen on is the way they attract and succumb to blackfly, how they can become very untidy, especially in dry weather, and the fact that once you've had them you can have them for years after because of the prolofic and tenacious character of their seeds.

However, some of these traits that I see as negatives can be turned to good advantage. A nearby Methodist chapel with a small garden features banks of self-sustaining nasturtiums year after year. At the end of each season the dying plants are pulled out, the soil and self-sown seeds turned over, and the next year the plants appear again offering their red, orange and yellow points of colour among the green, parasol-like leaves. A lot of beauty for very little effort, particularly since the blanket of leaves and flowers suppresses most of the weeds.

Today's photograph shows some of these nasturtiums that have grown over and through the iron railings that enclose the garden. They are coming to towards the end of their prolific growth and have almost hidden the street sign. As I passed by I thought it would make a different, for me, kind of shot.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 7.9mm (37mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.5
Shutter Speed: 1/100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On