Tuesday, January 20

Sweet smell of success

Up until last year we had always bought mixed packets of sweet pea seeds on the grounds that we just wanted to be able to pick plenty of flowers for the house not the show bench.

A group of us in our site are members of the NSALG and one of the benefits is that we can order from their special discounted seed catalogue. On browsing the catalogue I spotted a collection of named sweet pea varieties selected for perfume which were very reasonably priced and so I decided to order a pack.

In most people's eyes we maybe sow sweet pea seeds rather late - early April and planted out the young plants at the end of May.
As the photos show we grow squash in the same bed as the sweet peas and these intermingle. You may have also noticed we also plant through weed control fabric. I'm not sure whether either or both of these factors help retain moisture but last year we enjoyed a long flower production period. The first bunch of flowers was picked on 14 July and the last bunch picked on 23 October.  
The only downside was that one of the varieties - Beaujolais, a dark purple variety - only produced short stems.

This year I have decided to select individual varieties. I've chosen 9 varieties so I should end up with the same number if plants as last year. I've tried to find a good colour range which are recommended for cutting and where most have good scent. One or two may not have strong perfume but my theory is that as I pick a mixed bunch the highly perfumed varieties will make up for those with little perfume. My selection is as follows:
Candy King - deep pink
Claire Elizabeth - white with pink edge
Gwendoline - pale pink
Diamond Wedding - white
Blue Velvet - deep blue
Black Diamond - dark maroon
Millennium - red
Linda C -blue
Noel Sutton - blue/purple





24 comments:

  1. Your house must smell gorgeous all summer long. I really can't see the point in growing sweet peas unless they're scented, even though they're pretty flowers, the fragrance is what draws me to them. I had lilac sweet peas in my wedding bouquet.

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    1. Funnily enough the perfume seems to merge into the background after a day or so, Jo. I guess it's a bit like becoming unaware of the perfume that you wear regularly. It probably is more apparent to visitors.

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  2. That's really beautiful! I want to grow sweet peas in my garden, but til now, I've never found the seed seller here. It must be so interesting!

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    1. Your climate nay be a bit hot for them, Endah but knowing you, you would probably find a way of growing them,

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  3. I think your approach is the correct one as long as you have plenty of space. For me, 9 packets would be far too many, so I would probably choose one single mixed pack, or possibly one mixed and one "special". This is what I did last year, but I paid the penalty of having a relatively short flowering period. I lost my first batch in the contaminated compost issue.

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    1. We wouldn't be able to grow anything like as many if we only had the garden, Mark.

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  4. I really wish I could smell them. I might have to grow them one year just so I can. I hear such wonderful things about their scent.

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    1. Have you never smelled them, Daphne? If you ever do grow them choose a highly perfumed variety.

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  5. I love sweet peas but usually I lose a lot to slugs. However, sometimes I get lucky andthe best thing I ever had was planting them randomly in the tubs around the front of my cottage and just let them do their own thing ~ filled in a lot of gaps and scented the front rooms of the cottage and doorway for weeks!
    I couldn't stretch to so many varieties, due to space, but could manage two I think, if I sow them all over the place! ~~~Deb

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    1. We start ours in cells in the greenhouse , Debs so that they have a chance to grow before being left to the mercy of slugs

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  6. I'm trying hard to resist temptation & use only what I have in the seed box. I love having sweet peas in the garden, they are so giving.

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    1. We don't have any in the garden, Jo just on the plot for cutting. They certainly are very productive,

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  7. Last year I tried sweet peas, but had no luck (started growing and stopped). I think I planted them too late in the season. My seeds are ready for this year and hopefully they will grow! I love your garden photos and noticed how lovely the sweet peas were!

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    1. Hi, Juliet, when did you plant them as we plant later than many people do? They do like a fair bit of moisture which is helped by the weed control fabric and the squash plants. The only trouble is that we have to climb amongst the squash to pick the flowers at one side of the frame,

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    2. We are in Kentucky, Zone 6. I set them out about the first part of May. They were by a small fence (to climb on). A few seeds sprouted out of the package and didn't even reach the bottom of the fence. I'll keep a closer look to make sure they get enough water. Thanks for the tips!

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  8. Black Diamond sounds wonderful, I love dark maroon. I've had trouble with short stems as well, it can be quite frustrating. I shall look forward to seeing how they all do. I like your idea of growing squashes around the base of them, I might try this at the allotment.

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    1. The dark colour was the hardest to find one that was scented and and for cutting CJ It's scent is described as average

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  9. I too grow heaps of sweetpea Sue. I grew them for the first time outside last year and I was surprised at how well they did and how long they flowered despite me not cutting or deadheading them. If I don't cut or redhead the ones in the PT they go to seed amazingly quickly so I'm not sure why that is.
    I also tend to sow them late like you and I've never found it to be an issue. I did sow them in autumn once but then that's just something else to keep an eye on over winter.
    Looking forward to seeing your blooms this year 😀

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    1. When I saw Linda C I thought of you, Linda. I bet that the polytunnel smells wonderful - maybe the higher temperature in there affects the flowering

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  10. I loved seeing all your sweet peas last year, in fact I swear I could smell them from here! You have chosen some lovely varieties, I love the blue ones. I bet you'll have lots springing up from seed on the plot too.xxx

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    1. I hope that the colours live up to their photos, Dina

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  11. Good luck with sweet peas! They really have beautiful flowers!

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