I am not much on growing flowers but I have a few favorites. One is the Sweet Pea due to its beauty and aroma. Although it looks a lot like green peas you grow in the garden, its seeds are poisonous.
Sweet peas come in dwarf which grow between 8 and 24 inches tall while the regular varieties can reach between 6 and 10 feet tall.
It is strongly suggested that sweet peas be rotated every year and never grown in the same spot twice in a row. It is best to give 4 years before planting in a previous area. It is recommended you do not grow sweet peas in any area in which you've grown legumes.
1. If you eat the seeds, you will develop a disease called Odoratism whose symptoms could be mistaken for scurvy.
2. Up until the mid 1800's there were only 6 colors of the sweet pea available. More became available as people worked on hybridizing the plant. One gentleman created so many new colors that 23 are still available today.
3. In the 1930's growers in California shipped railroad cars full of sweet peas east because they were so popular.
4. In 1901, a sweet pea mutation was found which was named Spencer after the Earl of Spencer. It became quite popular due to its ruffled upper petals and long lower petals.
5. The first recorded appearance of sweet peas was in 1695 but no one is sure whether it was from the wild or found in a garden.
6. One of the earliest named varieties, the "Cupani" named after Francisco Cupani, can be found in seed catalogues today.
7. Varieties come with or without tendrils. The taller varieties tend to have tendrils but the dwarf ones do not always have tendrils. California growers worked on breading sweet peas without tendrils.
8. The older varieties from the Eckfort line are reputed to be the most fragrant.
9.The name sweet pea is attributed to Keats as having first coined it.
10. Small compact sweet peas referred to as the 'Cupid' type were extremely popular around the early 1900's.
I enjoy the old fashioned ones with the beautiful scent. They remind me of my grandmother.