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Archive for July, 2011

The sweet pea originated in Malta, where it grew in the wild, before being introduced to Sicily.  In 1699, a Sicilian priest Francis Cupani sent some seeds to Dr Uvedale in England.  These small highly scented flowers of Lathyrus odoratus ‘Cupani’ were bi-colored with maroon-purple standard and magenta-purple wings.  It is thought that ‘Painted Lady’ sweet pea (1723) with its pink and white bi-colored flowers is a sport or ‘mutation’ from the original maroon-purple sweet pea.

Lathyrus odoratus 'Cupani'

Our method of growing old fashioned sweet peas

  • We save seed each year, but also purchase trade packets of 10gms of ‘Cupani’ and ‘Painted Lady’
  • The seeds are cold sown (in winter) after ‘chipping’ a small section of the outer seed coat.  We sow 5 seeds to a 9cm pot.  After germination the seedlings are grown on (protect against vermin like mice), before being transplanted to Clematis pots and supported with a wig-wam of small hazel sticks
  • The pots are planted out in late April-May, around wig-wams of hazels.  Usually I mass plant at least 10 pots of five plants around each structure – in both the Kitchen Garden and the Exedra Garden
  • In good sweet pea growing conditions – mixture of rain and sunshine – they should easily cover the framework
  • Keep cutting the wonderfully scented flowers.  We use them on the tables in the Restaurant and in a vase in the Bothy to give the rooms a special fragrance

    Sweet peas on wigwams in Kitchen Garden

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