Sweet Peas have been cultivated, at least since the 17th century, were immensely popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and are native to the eastern Mediterranean region.
Every year I grow a few in my garden, if only for an occasional pick-me-up from a snootfull of their heavenly fragrance. 🙂
If I could bottle the scent of Lathyrus odoratus to enjoy all winter, you can bet I would!
If like me, you like to get the jump on spring, I recommend preparing the ground this time of year for next year’s planting. Top dress the garden, and dig in some sheep manure, which helps to draw roots down deeper in the ground, resulting in less watering overall, happier seedlings, and healthier plants.
Sweet Pea flowers come in many shades. This includes purple, pink, blue, white, and bi-colours, too. Pollinators enjoy the flowers, and I am able to enjoy the Hummingbirds and bees when they visit and pollinate the sweet peas for me.
Sweet Peas are a great cut flower, and perfect for bridal bouquets.
I worked as a floral designer at a wonderful flower shop in Toronto, and a few days before I was married, one of our wholesale flower reps gave me a bunch of these lovelies as a wedding gift. As my wedding bouquet was already created, I took them instead to my grandmother’s grave and left them there for her. A token of how much she would be missed… But I digress!
A vigorous climber, it seemed very happy to attach itself to the obelisk my better half built for me. It’s very hardy in this zone 4 of Ontario, and a prolific bloomer, too. This year it grew taller and thicker than last, which as a gardener, was good to see!
I did note however, that annual sweet peas have a much stronger scent than the perennial version. Of course that might just be the variety I’m growing, but in any case, both are beautiful, and very welcome in my garden!
They’re not edible like their Pea cousins, Pisum sativum, which by the way have similar flowers, but the bonus of edibles for dinner!
Or, if you’re like me, eaten directly from the plant while standing next to them in the garden. 😉