Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Thug

I didn't get round to sowing any sweet peas this year. I always intend to start some off in autumn but I don't think I've ever managed it yet. Spring comes and I think to myself, oh well, there's still time, but this year I didn't even manage that. I love having sweet peas in the house as they smell gorgeous, and it's the one plant in the garden which I don't mind cutting because the more you pick, the more flowers are produced. I'm not totally without sweet peas though as a couple of years ago, hubby's uncle gifted me a cutting from his perennial sweet pea plant. I planted it in my border thinking it would look lovely climbing up an obelisk. I totally underestimated the strength and vigour of this plant. I've never yet had a nice display from it. It scrambles madly up the obelisk pulling it over in it's haste, and I find new bits of plant popping up all over the border. The flowers are very pretty, as you can see, but I really have to rethink it's position for next year as it's spoiling my whole border.

I intended to spend quite a bit of time at the allotment over the last week, but with it being half term, and nice weather to boot, my plans were thwarted. Instead, we had some lovely days out, and by the time we got home each day it was too late to do anything else. You can read about our days out, including a trip to Roundhay Park where the Leeds City Council Chelsea gardens are on display, on my Through The Keyhole blog. We managed to spend some time at the allotment yesterday and today and I've finally got my maincrop potatoes - Maris Piper in the ground as well as most of my brassicas.

The onion bed was covered in weeds when I got to the allotment yesterday, so my first job was to set to and get it sorted out. I started by pulling up all the more established weeds, and then ran a hoe over the smaller weeds. It looked a bit messy afterwards, but when I got there today the bed had settled again and it looked very neat and tidy. No doubt they'll all be back again by next week.


  1. I do like sweet peas and grew quite a few last year, but I'm allergic to the scent so none this year. I like the perrenial one you have there.

  2. Balancing the needs of allotment and family must be difficult for you! I'm lucky in that my kids are grown-up now (although having a grand-child now gives us a chance to re-live some of the days out without all the parental responsibilities!).

  3. I once grew the perennial sweet pea and ended up digging it up due to the vigour and although the flowers are lovely I like my sweet peas to be perfumed and if I remember rightly the perennial isn't is it?

    If you want a bowl of cut flowers you'll have to visit us later as if all mine grow I'll need help dead heading!

  4. I think sweet peas benefit and thrive if you pick the flowers regularly. At least so I'm told.

  5. AnonymousJune 06, 2011

    I try to grow sweet peas but don't really have much luck with them!
    I don't really blame for making the most of last week as you did.
    You're still planting potatoes just as I'm just about to start lifting the first of mine! Flighty xx

  6. My perennial sweet pea (at our old garden) had no scent but it was just the job to scramble through other shrubs. It really confused people!

    I sowed some this year in February in the cold greenhouse and planted them out in early April. They have buds on now - can't wait! I put lots in a pot and divvied them up at planting time. Didn't seem to do them any harm.

  7. The colour of your sweet pea is really nice. I have two white everlasting sweetpeas that come up every year. I moved one of them this year and will see if it survives. (I can never get sweetpea looking good as they grow). Kelli

  8. AnonymousJune 06, 2011

    Ha ha yes, I have got exactly the same perennial sweet pea as in your photos and you are so right it's an absolute thug, I thought I'd dug mine out and moved it last autumn but now I have got two thugs instead of one! It is pretty though.

  9. I didn't even know you could get perennial sweet peas... Sound great, our normal ones are being a bit rubbish this year for some reason.

  10. My autumn sown sweet peas were victims of the cold winter, whilst the spring sown ones are not doing so brilliantly since I transfered them to the ground. You still might be able to pick up a pot of seedlings Jo. Last year the local B&Q surprised me as they had quite a choice of different varieties. Sounds as if you had an enjoyable few days over half term.

  11. What a shame you're allergic to sweet peas, Damo, their scent is lovely.

    I don't always get the balancing act right, Mark, but family does come first. They're growing up now so I appreciate all the time I have with them.

    The sweet pea is slightly scented, Sue, but not as highly perfumed as the annual ones. The flowers are still pretty in a vase though.

    I make sure I pick plenty of flowers for the house, Don't unplug your hub. The plant then goes on to produce loads more.

    I had a few years where I couldn't get sweet peas to germinate at all, Flighty, so you're not alone. As with all things, I kept trying and eventually had success. The early potatoes I've got in containers seem to be doing well. There's loads of top growth so I hope there's plenty underneath too.

    That seems to be the way they sell them in the garden centres, Kath, all sown together in one pot. I can imagine the sweet pea would be lovely scrambling through shrubs, it's certainly vigourous enough.

    I'm hoping to move this plant once I find somewhere to move it to, Kelli, so I'll be interested to hear how your's does.

    Oh dear, I'm hoping to move this, Bluebell, so I'll have to make sure I get all the bits of it out. I agree, it is a pretty thug, it could be worse.

    The perennial sweet peas aren't as good if you're after scent, Paul, as they aren't as highly perfumed. I'm hoping that I can find somewhere more suitable for it to grow.

    We had a lovely time over half term, Anna, I always hate it when they go back to school, though my son is doing his GCSEs now so he's only going in when he's got an exam. I never thought of buying seedlings, I'm so used to sowing my own, I'll have a look and see if I can find any I like. Many things succumbed to the cold winter, I hope your spring sown ones perk up.

  12. AnonymousJune 07, 2011

    Grief ! I didn't know you could get perennial sweet peas !

  13. Would love a perenial sweet pea! Mine are about 3 inches tall and have been for months!

  14. I'm glad i'm not the only one who still has potatoes to plant, i've got my 1st earlies in (some in tubs and some in the ground) and i've managed to plant out my salad varieties and some King Edwards, but as per usual I was very enthusiastic when it came to choosing which varieties and now when the time comes to planting them out i'm running out of time.

  15. I managed to germinate sweet peas for the first time ever this year - they are still only a few inches high so my blooms are a long way off. I do have buds already on a big pot of sweet peas donated to me by my mum. I put the pot on a border beneath a trellis last year and the plants have now rooted through the bottom and into the ground so I guess they're staying put!

  16. I'm glad you had some nice days out over half term...we were very busy so I didn't get to spend much time on the plot either but I have big planes for this weekend!!

    The flowers are lovely by the way!!

  17. I didn't know until I saw hubby's uncle's, Elizabeth. I'm sure I'd like it much more if it was planted in the right place as it's a prolific bloomer, as you might expect with a sweet pea.

    Perhaps it's the dry weather holding them back, Rosie. It seems that a lot of plants are suffering this year.

    I'm sure they'll all get planted in time, Happy Plotter. I could go overboard with all the different varieties, so much choice, but I was very restrained this year and only chose one type of early and one maincrop, yet I'm still behind with getting them planted.

    It sounds like you'll have some early and some late blooms this year, Surburban veg gardener. I think that's the best way to do it to extend the season.

    We had some lovely days out over half term, Tanya. We didn't manage to get to the plot because of them though. Hope your plans for the weekend work out.


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