One of the very first plants to find a place in the ground for Petal Passion’s 2016 season is Sweet Peas Lathyrus odoratus, a cool weather annual native to Sicily, souther Italy and Aegean islands and I expect them to be blooming late May to early June, maybe longer if I get the successive plantings done in time. This year I am growing Royal Wedding and April in Paris.
Both of these cultivars were developed by the New Zealand flower breeder Dr. Keith Hammett who was able to combine the haunting perfume of old-fashioned Sweet Pea types with the taller varieties of Spencers, which feature the larger elegantly ruffled blooms and have a more the vining nature.
I can hardly wait to fill my buckets with these fragrant flowers that are so popular for June weddings. They instantly give bridal bouquets a whimsical and romantic look with their curly tendrils and ruffled lines but they also work fantastically well in a slender, glass vase featuring just a single stem or display an abundance of them, as nothing brings back memories of Granny’s place like a bunch of these ‘Butterfly’ blooms in a wide mouthed mason jar.
In the language of flowers Sweet Peas indicate shyness in some instances but also ‘bliss’ and ‘delicate pleasure’. She is a symbol of departure after good times. With the scent of orange blossoms and honey, Sweet Peas make an excellent choice for a nosegays or Tussie Mussies.
I usually start my seeds in January, in my greenhouse. I have tried to seed in situ in fall but I find that the seeds get eaten, so therefore I germinate them in the greenhouse and plant them out as soon as I have a few inches of growth. This has worked well for me, making sure to plant them in full sun no later than early March as they like all the sun exposure they can get while the hot and scorching midsummer sun has not materialized yet.
Although all parts of the edible pea can be consumed including the blossom, the blossoms nor any other part of the Sweet Pea is edible.