I’m a big fan of perennial flowers in the garden as I like to divert most of my limited time to growing vegetables. Nothing says ‘English summer’ quite like a sweet pea in full bloom. Until a couple of years ago sweet peas were one of the few annual flowers I used to grow from seed each year. That all changed when I discovered this perennial variety.
These plants came form seeds that my father saved and gave to me. He in turn was given some seed form one of his best friends (acquiring successful plants in this way is so much more satisfying than going out and buying ready grown, established plants form the garden center).
I’m not 100% sure of the variety but I suspect it is Lathyrus latifolius.
Maintenance is very easy. As they grow in Spring and early Summer I simply tie them up against the pillars which they’re planted near. They grow vigorously and are fairly sturdy so it’s not a fiddly job.
As with most flowers once they start to flower, dead heading will help to encourage more blooms. They provide a constant stream of deep pink flowers right into autumn.
At the end of the summer the plants will dry out and die back. Before cutting them back I take the opportunity to save some seeds and pass on to friends and family.
The only downside to these perennial sweet peas is that they do not have much scent compared to some of the annual varieties I’ve previously grown. Apart from that these should be a must in any English garden.
Having pinched out my sweet peas a couple of weeks ago I planted them out around a couple of wooden tripods which we bought a few weeks ago at a local gardening show.
Unfortunately disaster struck as a small rabbit managed to sneaks it’s way in to our walled garden and proceeded to munch it’s way through the sweet pea tips as well as a few other trays of seedlings I’d carelessly left out on the patio.
After getting it’s way into the garden it appeared the furry intruder was stuck inside and after a few sightings over a few days I battled in vein to catch the furry captive!
After about 5 days I managed to trap the offending rabbit behind the garden shed and with the help of a flower pot and a piece of wood I scooped it up and it was released into a ditch down the road.
Luckily I’d got a second batch of sweet peas in the greenhouse which I’d planted directly from seed into some home made pots made from old newspapers. As you can see from the pictures the newspaper pots have worked really well and the roots of the sweet peas are bursting through them so its a great time to get them planted out in the ground.
The pots were incredibly easy to make, I just rolled 2 sheets of newspaper around the end of a rolling pin and scrunched over to form the bottom of the pot. The idea is they will simply compost away once planted out, allowing the roots to grow through them.
I’m not sure which variety this second batch of sweet peas is, they seem a lot thinner and more delicate than the original batch pictured above. Hopefully now the rabbit has been dispatched they’ll flourish and put on a good show of fragrant color in a few weeks time.
You know Spring is (should) be just round the corner when you need to start worrying about pinching out sweet peas. I planted these about 3 weeks ago. I soaked the seeds in water over night and they germinated within about 1 week.
I still think it is a bit cold to plant them out with this cold snap. Instead i’m hardening them off by putting them outside during the day and for warmer nights and bringing them back into the green house on colder nights.
In order to make them into bushier plants i’ve just pinched them out. Sweet peas usually benefit from this every few weeks in the early stages of growth. All i do to pinch them out is to nip off the top of the seedling just above the 2nd or 3rd set of leaves. Hopefully the weather will improve and i’ll be able to get these planted outside in the next couple of weeks.