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Shrinking Violet

David - I hadn't been able to get 6X at my local GC until this year.  When I lived in Hertfordshire, I could get it from a number of local GCs, but down here it hasn't been readily available.  But I  always found it to be superb - all the plants benefit from it being mixed in with potting compost, for example, in pots and troughs.  And I knew a gardener who shoved a couple of handfuls into the foot of an old stocking and soaked it in water to make a liquid feed.  Haven't tried that (yet )  It would certainly be more "perfumed" than the SPs )  It may be pricey - but a little goes a long way.


Hi David,

I've just read your answer to the post on the other thread - I'm not sure if I have the same problem. I've got 3 sweet pea wigwams in different parts of the garden, but on one of them in particular, some of the plants are turning yellow and crispy, whilst the rest on the same wigwam are flourishing. I did spot what looked like an insect (like a tiny round ball) on one of the sickly ones, but not on the others. I'm in northern Spain, so we haven't had the recent wet weather you've been having in the UK. I've given them a good watering twice a week, and they get plenty of sun. 

Any ideas?



Thanks for that David, I was thinking the same thing about the soil, but one of the other wigwams which is doing well is only about 2 feet away from it. 


I have always grown sweet peas but am in a new garden (well was a bit of a field last year which we are slowly bringing back to cultivation) which is on heavy clay and floods at the first sign of rain of which we have had a lot up here in Carlisle. Still I have 3 lots of sweet peas on the go. One batch sown in pots and planted out about 5 weeks ago another straight into the ground which looked so unwilling to go that I planted climbing beans in between them and a few spares I put in an old plastic box. All seem to be going well and in fact the ones sown straight into the ground soon caught up with and overtook the earlier pot ones and are now flowering in amongst some reluctant bean plants. I had my first vase of flowers yesterday. I use feed made from either comfrey or dandilions whichever is growing at the time. Both seem to really get things going. So far the waterlogged soil does not seem to have harmed the plants although I have notices that a lot of the flower stems are a little shorter this year.



Mine are about 3 - 4 foot high, should be 6 foot by now,  very strong and healthy looking but very late due to darkness and wet.  I'll just leave them alone and see - if we get some late summer we may still get sweet peas, who knows yet!


David K:  this is a really good thread and it's good to be able to pick your brains

Can you tell us the name of that absolutely stunning deep pink in the photo?  Would love to see other photos and also photos from everyone else to see the amazing range of sweet peas. 

Torrential rain here in Central Scotland and although mine are stretching out now to nice long stems with  buds only beginning to colour-up - but with continuing rain it doesn't look as if they're going to have much of a chance to put on a show.


Thanks for the names David.  They really are stunning - and it's lovely to see fresh vibrant blooms which haven't been ruined with rain. 

It's torrential here and there are greenfly absolutely everywhere on the buds.  It's a slippery paddle to get to them at the moment.

Can I ask how you support  yours - cordon or other?  You have probably gone over this on this forum already so apologies if I'm covering old ground.  I have never mastered supporting them well.  In this small garden I have about an 8foot length of a very thin section at the back  of a  border so have only room for 8 8ft high canes.  All I've ever done (other than an obelisk in a big wooden tub with sweet peas) is have the canes upright supported by horizontal wiring to keep them straight with two substantial wooden pillars either side sunk into the ground to keep them all taught.  I plant 2 sweet peas at the foot of each cane and just let them climb straight up.  I have to keep removing the tendrils every few days otherwise they get very tangled and it gets messy.  I have substantial (but thin) wire netting attached across these canes and I tie them in (every few days at the moment) with plant ties which hold well but allow a little expansion.

I'm not sure how to explain what advice I'm asking for here..  Basically, they always grow up the canes really well and bloom very high.  But when I see lovely sweet peas on tv or in people's photographs, they seem to really bush out even forward away from the canes (don't know how to describe this) and look lovely and natural.  The way I do mine they just shoot up the canes like stiff soldiers and it's all leaves and stalks until very high - and then that's it. 

I'm thinking that I maybe ought to plant more than 2 at the foot of each cane or do it some other way to achieve the lovely 'look' that others seem to get.  Or - maybe I just don't prepare the soil well enough or feed them correctly to produce a better abundance of blooms other than right at the top.

I wish I'd been more attentive of gardening when I was a child and my dad used to produce lovely Sweet Peas - but by that time it was the 70's and teenage years and the attention span for such things was far too short!

Sorry for such long and tedious posts everyone.  Yawn at leisure



Thanks David.  I don't mind which year the blooms are from.  It's a real help to see photos and 'names' to get ideas for colour combinations.  It's much clearer than depending on the seed packet photographs where the bane of the photographer is often demonstrated i.e. it's difficult to get a photograph of the true colour when the pics have been printed.

I'm determined to make a real go of Sweet Peas next year so will be thinking of planning colours and type, paying more attention to ground preparation from the end of this year and starting my seeds off this autumn as opposed to next spring.   With that in mind, I will look forward with particular interest to your intention to kick things off here on a forum thread in the autumn.  I think it will be a timely popular discussion and support to many of us who want to improve our techniques and results.

I popped into the garden this morning and look what I found.

 My first ever flowers, thanks for all the help.



No congratulations to you too, Im sure without your advice this photo wouldn't be here.