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Growing sweet peas

Posted: Friday 7 March 2014
by Kate Bradbury

My garden hasn't seen a frost since last winter. So yesterday, brazenly, I planted out the sweet peas I was given recently by a friend.


The concept of planting out after all risk of frost has passed is rather lost on me. My garden hasn’t seen a frost since last winter and, while temperatures are set to fall again next week, I doubt conditions will be cold enough to do any damage.

So, yesterday, brazenly, I planted out the sweet peas I was given recently by a friend. Sown in autumn and nurtured over winter, these plug plants of ‘Gwendoline’ have been bulking up nicely in my kitchen. But they were starting to get leggy. I pinched out the tips, hardened them off for a few days and, yesterday, popped them in the soil. They don’t look too happy at the moment, but I’m sure they will survive.

I love sweet peas. They remind me of my mum and granny, being small and finding little vases of sweet-scented blooms in every corner of the house. Growing them now is like a nod to childhood and summer holidays, to barbecues, overheard conversations between elderly relatives, and granddad returning from the garden with a bucket of runner beans in one hand, a bunch of sweet peas in the other.

'Gwendoline' is a Spencer type, producing large, frilly, magenta-pink flowers with a good scent. I’ve also sown seed of ‘Cupani’, one of the oldest sweet pea varieties, which has smaller, pink and purple flowers with an intense fragrance. Like my granddad, I grow them up an obelisk with runner beans, and also on the gate that separates my garden from the cycle path beyond it. I can’t wait to sit in out on warm summer evenings and smell their fragrance drifting in with that of the honeysuckle and jasmine. Summer is well on its way.





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Talkback: Growing sweet peas
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LouatLarches 07/03/2014 at 15:21

Gosh, you've inspired me. I have about 30 pots of healthy looking sweet pea sown in Autumn. They've been out of the greenhouse for approx 3 weeks and I shall plant them this weekend. Thanks!

David K 07/03/2014 at 18:55

There's a lot of misunderstanding about sweet peas.....they're not frost tender bedding plants, they will survive many degrees of frost.

I would just add, they don't like cold biting winds.

Lyn 07/03/2014 at 19:01

Our night temps in the south west are forcasted to go down to 1c next week, I shalln't be putting mine out yet.

David K 07/03/2014 at 19:05

Lyn wrote (see)

Our night temps in the south west are forcasted to go down to 1c next week, I shalln't be putting mine out yet.

 

But they are hardy annuals and as such not affected by frost.

Lyn 07/03/2014 at 19:49

Tried it before David, they were not good, maybe its the high altitude or the strong winds, but they seem to benefit from being held back until April. I havent even sowed the late ones yet.

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