It was inevitable; it was in fact part of the deal, but still, it was hard letting go. Today I dug the billowing nasturtiums up from the front of the raised bed and tipped them onto the compost heap. All through May and June they have been rambling happily over the wooden frame and across the bed, covering everything all the while with their big green leaves and dragons-head flowers. And they have been growing taller, and wider, and taller, and wider.
But what goes up must come down, and this was the deal. You see, the nasturtiums in this bed were never planted to last. There are others in the garden, climbing up the trellis and spilling over the fence, which will stay flowering until the first frost, but the plants in the raised bed were on a short-term contract. I had employed them as sacrificial plants to attract blackfly and caterpillars away from leafy veg, and they have worked admirably. But there was always going to be a point when I had to sacrifice the entire plant, and as the pumpkins and squash were clamouring for more room in their own bed, the time had come.
Besides, they really had worked hard as sacrificial plants, and were looking a little worse for wear. The blackfly and caterpillars had indeed forsaken all other plants for the nasturtiums. They had moved in, and bred wildly. A tabloid-style romp was taking place in my vegetable patch. And it was rather tawdry.
That said, it is always a little dispiriting when you dig up a plant before its natural end. I know I’ll recover, especially as there is some rather exciting news I have to tell you. And the pumpkins will soon be conducting their own romp across the bed. When I start munching that delicious sweet flesh in the autumn, I’ll be thankful for those sacrificial nasturtiums.