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.
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.
They’re easy to grow, drought tolerant, have showy flowers, can be eaten in salads, ground up to make pepper and without question, their leaves make great background for taking photos of butterflies.
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.
With all the bad, ugly news going on, I decided to post a photo of nasturtiums. While most people are drawn to their fragile flowers, the leaves, to me, are amazing in how they capture sunlight–just an FYI.
This enlarged photo of my backyard nasturtium appears to produce flowers within a flower.
I 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. Note 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.
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.