Just down the block from my front door is an amazing display of sweet peas grown against a great brick wall. Every spring these are one of the first flowers that emerge. This year is no exception as the blooms give a great early springtime show.
Sweet peas are annual climbers bearing clusters of flowers in a wide variety of colors including red, pink, blue, white and lavender. The stems appear folded and the flowers resemble fringed butterflies. The old-fashioned varieties were selected for their vibrant colors and intense fragrance. Many modern cultivars are on the market offering sweet peas in almost every color except yellow. Not all sweet pea varieties are fragrant. They have a long season of bloom and make excellent cut flowers.
Sweet peas lend a cottage feel to gardens. They are often grown on bamboo tripods, but they will gladly grow through shrubby plants, much like clematis. They also work well in a vegetable garden, attracting bees and other pollinators needed in the vegetable garden. They can be grown along the fence or mixed in with the pole beans. Sweet peas are usually direct seeded.
Sweet pea vines have tendrils and will attach themselves to most any type of support with meshing or lines. Regular deadheading or cutting for display, will keep them blooming longer. Sweet peas require regular watering, especially as the temperature increases. They prefer a somewhat rich soil and can be fed monthly with a fertilizer high in potassium, as used for tomatoes. Adding a bit of blood meal to the soil is thought to help keep the stems long and suitable for cutting.
The pastel colors of spring make a wonderful neighborhood welcome.
Wouldn’t a basket of these look great on a beautiful farmhouse table or at the front door?
Sweet peas, y’all!