I’m having a love/hate relationship with sweet peas.
Actually that’s not strictly true – I love them really, but I hate the way they make me sneeze. I’m growing lots of different varieties this year and although it’s now September and Autumn is definitely peeking its head round the corner, they’re still going strong in my garden. So I’m bringing in bunches of them every few days – but the pollen is definitely exacerbating my allergies and every morning when I wake up I explode a number of times and end up looking like I’ve been crying for a week. But that scent though…
I nabbed some photos of the main offenders this morning to ‘review’ the varieties I’ve been growing this year. Way back in March I treated myself to a window propagator from Marshalls like this one, which came with a selection of new varieties of sweet pea seeds. I grew a few of each in two batches, one of which was quite late and I guess that’s why I’m still picking them mid-September.
The prize for the most prolific goes to…Little Red Riding Hood:
This one has been covered in flowers for a number of weeks and is really bright and cheery. There are so many that I’ve never yet managed to take off every flower with each picking – I’d run out of vases! The stems are on the short side but if you don’t mind that, this flower just gives and gives the whole season.
The prize for the prettiest colour goes to…Erewhon:
This flower is such a delicate blue-purple with just a hint of pink. It’s really gorgeous and very subtle. Can you spot the aphid in the photo above by the way??
Which brings me to – the prize for the most covered in aphids goes to…Cream Eggs:
These are also a really pretty colour, with delicate purple veining inside and around the edges, and they smell beautiful. However, I’ve been chasing aphids off the buds and flowers for several weeks – they hide inside the folds of the flower until you bring them inside and then invade your house too – grrr.
The prize for the most dramatic flower goes to…Berry Kiss:
This has produced lovely deep pink and purple flowers, although these tend to fade quicker and can look a bit tatty after rain.
And the prize for the purest, ruffliest sweet pea goes to…Misty Mountains:
This mix also has dark and paler purple flowers in it, but I’ve been most struck by the white ones, which look like they’ve fallen straight off an Elizabethan gentleman’s shirt sleeves. Lovely.
However my favourite sweet pea for this season is a bit of a wild card – it’s a dwarf variety which I planted into a blue pot and set by the front door. Although it didn’t last as long as the rest, the colour was magical – it’s Northern Lights:
What a beauty. The plant has finished flowering but I’ve kept it aside in the hope of keeping some of the seed to sow more next year.
So there you have it, my sweet pea selection. I’m off to take another antihistamine and enjoy more of one of my favourite flowers in the garden…