Guest Author - Hellie T.
English Gardens have had Nasturtiums in them for hundreds of years. They came to England in the 16th century.
The Victorians loved them in their gardens and also used them in tussie mussies to help disguise bad smells as they have a lovely delicate scent.
In the language of flowers, they mean victory in battle and fatherly love.
Nasturtiums are annuals and are very easy to grow.
The dwarf variety can be used as edging for your flowerbeds, in window boxes and containers. The semi-trailing nasturtium looks good in hanging baskets, while the climbing variety will twine attractively around your trellis. They come in reds, oranges, yellows and cream and will flower from June to the first frost.
How to grow.
Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed. They can be planted outside when the soil warms up from April onwards - in weed-free, well drained soil - about 1/2" deep. Or start them indoors earlier but remember to use biodegradable pots - as they do not like being transplanted.
They prefer a sunny spot, but they will tolerate partial shade. They will grow in most soils even poor ones actually preferring sandy soils.
Nasturtiums do not like waterlogged soil, but will appreciate a watering in dry spells.
Donít feed them as this will just encourages the leaves to grow and not the flowers.
Watch out for caterpillars and slugs.
Collect the seeds and save them in a cool, dry place so you can have another display next year.
Tall varieties for an English Garden
Alaska Mixed grows to 3m (10ft) high with orangey-red flowers and leaves that are mottled and marbled creamy white.
Empress of India gives you scarlet-crimson flowers with dark green leaves looks.
Nasturtium Jewel of Africa has variegated cream and green leaves and bright red and orange flowers.
Small varieties for an English Garden
Take a look around your plant centre or browse through seed catalogues and you will find a large selection of nasturtiums that can be grown in borders or containers.
Nasturtium Little Gem will only grow to 15-23cm (6-9") and comes in arrange of bright colours.
Whirlybird Mixed provides you with lovely bushy plants only one foot or 30cm high and blooms of orange, yellow and red.
A real treasure is a cream variety Ė Nasturtium Milkmaid which has creamy-white flowers, held well above the leaves so you can see them.
Enjoy your garden!