Sweet Peas: Summer Blazing

What a difference a month makes, back in June we were bemoaning the death of around 50% of our sweet peas due to a poor spring. The weather a month ago was nothing to write home about. Many of us thought summer was another wash out. Then July started cool and moist, and then a week later, flags were cracking, motorways were melting and our sweet peas were romping away.

Sweet peas are glorious in summer, see how our sweet pea trial is going.

The only autumn sown sweet peas to survive the winter and cold spring was the Seeds of Italy Sweet Peas Pisello Odoroso. These wonderful big blooms are scented, the scent lingers, a subtle blend of cloves and sugar. We have a feeling that talking about scent is like talking about wine and any minute now we'll be discussing straw, earthy tastes with a plummy undertone whilst swilling wine round our mouth. We may end up talking about notes but that's not us, we'd plonk the flowers in a vase and then swallow the wine. That's the wondrous thing about sweet peas, they are a showy, subtle, old fashioned, totally relaxing type of flower. We know no one who would moan about getting a bunch of scented sweet peas, and if they do then they are miserable sods. Sweet peas scream summer, bees, butterflies, strawberries and cream, beers in the garden, barbeques in a meadow, sun bathing, paddling at the seaside, building sandcastles and sitting back in your deck chair. We warned you, sweet peas are like wine, they conjure analogies. 

A glorious posie from Sarah Raven flowers.

Vase after vase has come into the house, filling every room with there scent. There is no denying there is a winner among the sweet peas, the spring sown HarlequinOpal,Venetian and Amethyst (all from Sarah Raven) have been wonderful, boosting every posie with a scent that lingers in our corridors, clings to your clothes and freshens any room. Who needs room spray? Plant sweet peas.

The first small posie and then the floodgates opened, come and see.

There has been a few sad moments, none of Miss Willmott (from Dobies of Devon) germinated. We bought two packets of this variety and neither one came true. We queried Dobies about this and to date there has been no response. We wonder if anyone else has had problems with this variety and stockist? Even Cupani (also from Dobies) germinated poorly. This understated little sweet pea though is a delight and you can see why the original sweet pea caught the imagination of Robert Uvedale of Enfield more than 300 years ago. All sweet peas come from cupani, and sometimes it is good to go back to your roots and this variety does not disappoint. 

Sweet peas in the bedroom is better than any floral aerosol.

In the end though, it is the Sarah Raven sweet peas that have given us more flowers, more scent, more wow in a vase. They are consummate cut flowers in a range of colours that work well together in any posie, any vase, any bedroom, kitchen, hallway or lounge. Make sweet peas something to sow next spring. We can never guarantee the weather but we can guarantee that sweet peas and their wonderful scent will be with us 300 years from now.

Now all we need to do is hear from you and see your sweet peas on our Facebook Page.

You can follow the story of Pig Row's sweet peas below:

We are so happy that so many of you are emailing us your story of what you are sowing and your hopes for those seedlings. Please keep sending them in.

We ask that if you wish to blog for us about seed sowing that you let our readers know where you bought them and what varieties they are, unless you have saved your seed and no longer have that information. Thanks.

Opinions expressed here are personal. The seed packets from Sarah Raven and Seeds of Italy were received for free to review. Seeds from Dobies were purchased in 2012.