The last nasturtiums hold the key to spring planting | Allan Jenkins

  The Observer 

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The tenacious flowers still face off against December’s cold days, so it’s time to plan for next year’s long campaign of colour It seems barely possible. Kala’s nasturtiums are literally clinging on into December. They have again colonised her neighbours’ fence, clambering over the top, reaching down to the ground, some stems around 12ft long. Even though the residents have repelled the invaders more than once. To no avail. Their wall is a cascade of orange vitality. Until a sustained heavy frost, at least. The allotment is situated higher up, at the top of Hampstead Heath. Sheltered in a scoop, entirely surrounded by tall trees, it is capable of holding in heat and cold. There, most nasturtiums have already succumbed. Carcasses of frost-twisted tendrils and red petals are curled on the ground. At the other end of the plot, some late-sown climbers from theHiggledy Garden shop are climbing still – light on flower, heavy on leaf. In the morning, they catch the dew like water lilies wait

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