Here today and gone tomorrow, or Frost Happens

Oh, how I enjoyed my nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) yesterday. How lovely they were, so many flowers, so many peppery leaves.

How perfectly lovely it was to think of adding the leaves to a salad while I was tidying them up with my deadheading snips. I must remember to do just that, I thought. Nasturtium leaves are delightfully tasty in salad, and I remembered how much my friends ooohed and aahhed the last time I served a salad that had nasturtium leaves AND flowers.

What a tour de force of garden and kitchen symbiosis that was. Oh, happy memories.

nasturtiumsI DID rejoice in my nasturtiums yesterday, their joyous orange faces beamed at me, and they were positively glowing with light – you know, the way nasturtiums do. An orange that is so intense and luminous.

Sadly, nasturtiums are watery: that’s probably why they are good in salads. Watery and soft, not fibrous like some flowers. The temperature goes below zero, and water freezes. It doesn’t matter if it’s water in a birdbath, or in the cells of a plant. Frost means freezing. When frost happens, nasturtiums are the first to go.

When the first frost hits, it hits me hard, with a pang. Oh you poor tender-hearted lovelies, I’m thinking: I’m all regret. I should have known, I should have gone out with a blanket the night before and covered their little soft selves up.

But I didn’t know. I wasn’t paying attention to the weather report – whatever frost warning that was out there, it didn’t get to me. And seeing those sad, wetly drooping leaves and stems, where yesterday it was all burgeoning life and colour is a rude slap. It’s all over, and it happens that fast.

Today’s lesson, do not merely stop and smell the roses, but pick the nasturtium leaves, if you’ve got them. Put some in your salad. Pick a bunch for a vase indoors. Enjoy it all now. While it’s here.

So, goodbye nasturtiums. I loved every orange, peppery minute of you. And I’ll plant even more of you next year.

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