Contrast Continued…


I enjoy shooting photos defined by their contrasting images. Take this “new” butterfly landing on a large nasturtium leaf next to the shadow of a decayed leaf.

A wet winter and spring has produced a record growth of nasturtiums in our yard–that’s the good news. The bad news/good news is that nasturtiums attract insects away from our other plants, so when the weather warms up, the undersides of these giant leaves will be weighted down by spittle bugs and the like. I don’t use pesticides given that we have bee hives in the backyard–I simply remove the infected leaves.  Go organic!

On a final note: I still have trouble spelling “nasturtiums.” I forget the “r” sometimes.

Nasturiums on Brick


Three years ago I harvested some nasturtium seeds and threw them in the front yard. I haven’t watered them this year given that we are in a severe drought. This week they were in full bloom and contrasting nicely against an old brick wall. These flowers drop seeds which, in turn, produce more nasturtiums; however, in the current dry conditions the growth of new flowers is limited to shady areas.

While nasturtiums aren’t first choice of our honey bees–they prefer lavender and ivy–they will collect nectar from them as it is a short fly from these flowers to the hive.

First Bloom

DSC_0857 - Copy

Amid the aging, giant nasturtium leaves in my front yard there is a new bloom, the first of the season. Since the nasturtium is a drought tolerant plant once established, this showy flower may be mainstay of landscaping this year in parts of California. I harvested hundreds of seeds last year and plan to sow many of them tomorrow. Doesn’t get more exciting that this…oh, yes it does, thankfully.

Attack of the Giant Nasturiums

DSC_0257 - CopyDSC_0242I am the “mad scientist of nasturtiums.” Over this past winter I dried the seed pods of the most prolific nasturtiums of 2013. I planted five seeds in very loose soil in April of this year. Kaboom! I now have nasturtiums with giant deeply veined leaves, as noted in the photo—that’s a drop of water in the center. DSC_0256Note the thick trunk of a sprout that is less than 45 days old. I have watered sparingly because of the drought. Doesn’t look like lack of water hurt growth—they are in filtered light near the ocean. The flowers are of average size.DSC_0257

I also planted dried nasturtium seeds from average-sized plants in 2013 in other parts of my yard and got average-sized plants this year.

These nasturtiums are loved by bees, butterflies and humming birds. But I find that the large leaves afford more room for butterflies to land. Note how the Cabbage White butterfly is dwarfed by the leaf.

This is a very unscientific  “backyard “study. But if you wish to award me a research grant, I will accept it.