HOtG July 16th 2013: Sweet Peas

July 16th How quickly do sweet peas grow?

I planted these sweetpeas late, because of the frosts, the extremely cold Spring and because, dammit, I am not always on the ball, garden wise. My husband planted the pea seeds in trays, kept on the window sills in the family room, late in March – winter still had a firm grip on the landscape and I was convinced he was on a fruitless exercise, where these little seedlings would simply never get the chance to thrive in what passes for summer here sometimes. When the first little green shoots popped up we cheered and smiled at them, like they were our children – I’m not sure why we were so enamoured, we have three human offspring and they’ve produced four more of their own, so our progeny abounds!

We watered them and kept the temperature reasonably warm and soon they had several pairs of leaves and it was now mid-April. We should be able to plant them outside soon… if only the weather would make at least some show of morphing into spring. We began the daily task of trooping out with a dozen trays of seedlings (there were some other plants too – petunias, pansies, lobelia and dahlias) and placing them on the low patio wall to catch what little sunlight granted from the virtually non-existant sun and then trailing them all back in again after a couple of hours, because it was still too cold for them. They were really chilled when they came in and I got the feeling, more than once, that they were giving us reproachful looks – ‘WHY? Why did you leave us out there in that cold, cold garden? What’s the matter with you people?’ I was sure they were begging of us.

And then something miraculous happened. A strange yellow orb appeared to hover in the sky for  several hours in the day… and it just seemed that teeny bit warmer. We started leaving the seedlings in the (zipped up) cold frame overnight. They survived. We did this for another couple of weeks, until we were sure the overnight frosts had dissipated, nay ceased altogether.

By now, of course, it was mid-June! We took the plunge and planted the little darlings in situ, to grow against a wonderful south-facing wall. I took photos of them once they had settled in – this one was taken on June 26th:

Sweetpeas 26 June

And truly, I expected we’d lose a few or they’d not make it for some reason. But with a little care and attention, here’s what they look like today – barely three weeks on…


I wish you could see them – they’ve reached about 4ft 6inches in height and their aroma is amazing, particularly when I’m watering them on an evening. It’s like fabulous fairy farts and the beauty of them is that the more I cut stems to bring them inside, the more they produce to replace them! I just adore my sweetpeas!


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