I have a bed of nasturtiums in my garden. This was the bed that was full of tomatoes last year, but I planted some nasturtiums among them to keep the ground covered and because I like them and because, well, why not?
This year I am not growing tomatoes because last year they all got the blight so I am leaving it a couple of years before I grow them again. The nasturtiums, though, gave me no choice. They self seeded and came back bigger and brighter than ever and I was delighted. I was going for the zero effort garden this year, and they definitely met that!
Then this happened:
The caterpillars took over. I know a lot of people with allotments plant nasturtiums as a sacrifice crop, and I can see why that works. The cabbage whites absolutely loved them. The devoured them in short order. I was a little bit sad for my plot which had been so beautiful not long before, although not nearly as sad as I would have been had they not been effectively free as they self seeded and required no effort to grow whatsoever.
I resigned myself to the fact that they were eaten, consumed, gone, and so would not get a chance to re-sow themselves for next year, and consoled myself with the thought that if any of our neighbours were growing broccoli we had probably saved it for them by attracting all the butterflies to our side of the fence.
But then look what happened:
Once the butterflies had flown, the nasturtiums recovered! I was so delighted to see that they are all in flower again, and are giving us some much needed autumn colour. I have to say, that the original packet of seeds now stands as the best value garden purchase I have ever made!
I hope they get the chance to set seed again before the frosts come, so that we will see them again next year.