Branches were sought and sorted to provide support for tall plants. A bundle remained and became a source of interest. As a child, den construction had always been a great joy. Eight sturdy sticks were selected and construction commenced.
Finding that the sticks actually created a stable shape was satisfying. The unwieldy structure was moved around the garden to find a position where wind from the sea would be less likely to knock it to the ground. When a suitable base area was chosen, the top of the tepee shape was secured with tough leaves from the garden. They survived winter and spring storms.
The position chosen was in the area where the nasturtium seedlings were beginning to emerge. This was a fortuitous pairing.
For several weeks the tepee demonstrated stability and very slowly the nasturtium growth became more visible.
Initial growth was steady. Following some autumn rain the stems scrambled up the structure. When the weather was kind, the foliage remained bright and lush, during dry spells sparse yellowing patches became appeared. Eventually the plant became a living gown.
Stormy winter weather struck the structure onto the fence on two occasions.
The nasturtiums survived three sharp frosts, then slowly decayed.
Following the second fall the structure was moved, the plant stems having to be cut in order to release the sticks. It was a surprisingly heavy structure and cumbersome to carry.
Stems, like bleached oversized spaghetti remained on the slate as a mound until the following April. Lengths of fragile nasturtium stem were brought indoors to be conserved.