Decorative and edible flower stars
A classic in the flower garden, as a companion plant and increasingly as an edible… 2019 has been designated the Year of the Nasturtium.
Rather than the usual orange or yellow climbers/sprawlers, there’s a wide colour range now in tall and compact varieties. Never mind how they look – they’re ideal for children or beginners to grow and good for wildlife, too.
If you’re wondering who decides which flower is highlighted, Fleuroselect Home Garden Association, an international non-profit organisation, chooses a vegetable and flower each year, designed to boost seed and plant sales.
Here are my favourites this year…
Baby Deep Rose
This new variety is a breakthrough in nasturtium breeding with its very compact habit and much smaller, darker leaves and stunning, very dark pink prolific flowers, 30cm, £2.25, www.chilternseeds.co.uk.
Not only do the flowers resemble orchids, but they also change colour, from red with yellow splashes and veining, to fully yellow. The final flower colour depends on weather and temperature, but no two flowers will be exactly alike.
It reaches 30cm high, spreading or cascading to 90-120cm, so it’s a great variety for hanging baskets or growing over a trellis, £2.99, exclusive to www.thompson-morgan.co.uk.
Blood-red blooms with a flecked colour pattern and peppery, watercress taste. Height 20-30cm, spread 20-30cm, £2.99, www.suttons.co.uk.
Tall Mix Organic
A free flowering and rapid climber which attracts aphids away from vegetables. Height 180cm. Organic seeds are produced without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, £2.29, new to www.dobies.co.uk.
Empress of India
A popular variety with masses of deep-red, semi-double flowers over purple-green leaves. Ideal for covering unsightly banks or fences, 180cm, £1.60, www.plant-world-seeds.com.
Mainly semi-double unusual salmon-pink blooms. Compact at 30cm, so ideal for borders, ground cover and pots, £2.35, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.
- Alaska Mixed: single flowers set off by pale green marbled foliage.
- Golden Jewel: semi-double golden flowers on compact plants. Perfect for pots and tubs.
- Mahogany Gleam: semi-double flowers on semi-trailing plants. Great for ground cover and containers.
- Peach Melba: semi-double flowers with salmon dots, on compact plants.
- Tall Mixed: bright single flowers on vigorous plants.
- Tom Thumbs Mixed: compact plants with single flowers in a good range of bright colours. Height: 25cm-180cm, £4.99, www.johnsons-seeds.com.
Jewel Cherry Rose
Semi-double blooms in shades of cherry-pink, £2.09, www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk.
Nasturtium Edible Flowers For The Kitchen
Spicy flavour for salads or use as a garnish, £2.99, www.seedsofitaly.com.
Red flowers to scramble up fences and trellises, 180cm, £1.95, www.higgledygarden.com.