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Nasturtiums, a rethink on red.

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1 Nasturtiums, a rethink on red. on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:28 am


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Last year a backhoe came and clawed its way through the growth that fringes the edge of our cleared septic field. The chickens and ducks graze the septic field, the only area on this bedrock slab that grows any grass. But coyotes and bears lurk in that scrub fringe, waiting for a hapless person in gumboots to open a door and let breakfast out for a morning run. So we had the hoe come to scrape away the hiding spots.

Last fall we hacked our way through mounds of dirt and rock and scrub, pulling out what would burn, levelling and raking what would not, picking rocks, cutting roots. This spring revealed a cleared out area, greater chicken roaming room and dirt. Dirt! Dirt is in short supply around here. But there it was in brown lumpy mounds. It cried out, plant in me! So I did.

I raked and hoed and picked rocks and threw them away. Then I went and got them again to make edging and support earth. I fashioned some beds and borders, very crude, I sprinkled manure on top and planted. I planted corn, which is a waste of space and time but I hope every year that it will magically work out this time. I planted potatoes. I planted carrots. I planted cosmos, dill, peas and nasturtiums.

I am devoted to nasturtiums who, on this difficult site, have never failed me. But this year they did. This year they failed me and I had anger.

Last year, careful to pick seeds from only the red plants, the red flowers, I dried and saved and labeled my nasturtium seeds. RED 2012. So this year each seed I put in the ground would reveal that brilliant red that I love so much. But up came orange and yellow and cream and auburn. A few red. What the?

In my backhoe bed those nasturtiums went wild! They grew vines of flowers 5 and 6 feet long. They twined into the pea plants. They tumbled into the walking path. They were having a riot of rambling, a revolt of colours. They pissed me off. And so, I chopped them. Chopped them down to succulent stumps. Pale white stems, apologetic and bare. There. There you stupid orange and yellow flowers. This is what you get for not being red, you get HACKED. Take that. And they did. Quiet and pale they huddled forlornly while the lush green work they had built was bundled up by the armful and dumped in the bush.

This morning, in the early crisp light, before the baking heat of the day I wandered into my garden and saw the merry blooms of the nasturtium smiling in the breeze, nodding to the Creator, and I felt ashamed. I walked to the backhoe beds and looked upon the huddled nubs where glorious plants used to burst. My heart hurt at what I had done. Over what? Colour.

With repentant haste I made my way to the shrivelled pile of torn nasturtiums and began to gather seeds. Fat, plump, puckered and promiscuous. I gathered those seeds who mate with anyone and bring forth offspring of undetermined colour, undetermined parentage and lineage. I dropped the large, round seeds into my pocket, a pocket full of promise and surprise, risk and unpredictability. Forgive me, forgive me, I thought as I gathered as precious that which I had torn out in disgust. I was blind but now I see, lost but now I'm found.

Any and all colours of god are good with me. The bright yellow, the jarring orange, the pale cream are beautiful for the free, good gifts they are. I realized with a stab and regret that it is about the surprise and finding the beauty in things that don't turn out as planned. The task is mine to appreciate the riot of colours that come into my life, grown or made.

On the windowsill a plate sits in the sun, seeds are drying. Next year, no matter what comes up, I will love them all. Love them because no one promised me only red nasturtiums. All I was given was a little bit of dirt, anything after that is a gift.

2 Re: Nasturtiums, a rethink on red. on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:57 am


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Last edited by HigginsRAT on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total


3 Re: Nasturtiums, a rethink on red. on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:57 am


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Golden Member
I like your ramblings. You should save this one, somewhere.


4 Re: Nasturtiums, a rethink on red. on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:02 am


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Golden Member
authenticfarm wrote:I like your ramblings. You should save this one, somewhere.

5 Re: Nasturtiums, a rethink on red. on Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:43 pm


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Golden Member
I loved this so much I have no read it 3 times.
I believe I will read it again later.
Thank you!

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