With the turn of the seasons, and with winter fast approaching, we florists start to look forward to all the colder climate plants which will begin really flourishing and becoming readily available. Quite often throughout the cooler months we are blessed with many varieties of flowers that are as intoxicating in appearance as they are in scent, which makes a welcome change.
There is something special about sweet peas; the delicate blooms, with their sweet soft fragrance, remain a firm favourite. The combination of their ruffled appearance as well as their soft perfume has the ability to transport us to another time and place, usually to a time filled with innocence, beauty and wonder; to childhood. They are special. They are simple. They are unforgettable. There is something so beautifully understated about a small vase or bottle of ‘pea’ as they are affectionately called, sitting on a bedside, or a coffee table.
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) belong to the legume family but obviously have more appeal to the wider community than a bowl of lentils. It is an annual, which is a climber, reaching heights of 1-2 metres where they can find suitable support. The terminal tendril twines around surrounding plants and structures, helping the pea to climb. By providing a structure such as a tee pee or obelisk (as pictured) you will help support the pea as it grows and reaches. It is recommended that you pick your flowers every second day to encourage more blooms and growth.
Sweet peas in the wild are purple, however since cultivation began in the 17th century, the range of colours has widened greatly. Today, you can get sweet peas in;
White or cream
Lavender and Purple
Flakes or Stripes
Sweet Pea do suffer from some pests, so if you do decide to try growing them yourself, you will need to keep an eye out for mildew and aphids in particular. Aphids suck the life out of the plant, by draining the sap, and therefore reducing the plant growth. Other pests may include caterpillars, slugs and snails. Peas are also ethylene sensitive so it is recommended that they are grown away from fruit trees as it reduced their own plant life.
Sweet pea are popular flowers to use in posies, as well as bridal bouquets as they are delicate, soft and feminine, and because of the wide variety of colours available now, it is easy to coordinate with many colour palettes.
They are currently available in store, so if you favour blooms that are as beautiful to smell as they are to look at, they may be the perfect choice for you.