Aug 262013
 
Fennel&sweetpeas

Hurstpierpoint, East Sussex

Sweet peas are my favourite flower. My Grandpa used to grow them in his garden, and bring me and my sister a bunch whenever he came to our house. I used to put mine on my bedroom windowsill, in my Sylvac squirrel vase, and gaze at them from my bed. The smell of them still reminds me of him, and of childhood.

I like the dark-coloured ones best, and I love how these are offset by the yellow, airy fennel. 

Dec 192011
 

Regents Park

Round the back of my office is a hidden little row of houses, and this pot is blooming outside the front door of one of them. My colleague James reckons it contains a Polygala myrtifolia, or sweet pea bush.

A quick Google has revealed that sweet pea bushes flower pretty much all year in mild areas. Which got me thinking: is that a good thing? Surely the pleasure of most plants is that their beauty is fleeting?

I don’t know where I stand on this one. At the beginning of the year I told Huw, my long-suffering co-allotmenteer, that I wanted to pick raspberries from May till November. And we pretty much managed it, thanks to a combo of different varieties and some freaky weather. Was I bored of raspberries by November? No way – they’re my favourite fruit. We also had some sweet peas on the go for a similar amount of time (thanks to Huw’s staggered sowings). I loved them as much in autumn when they were short-stemmed and not very smelly as I did in high summer.

That said, I was quite happy to say a fond farewell to the raspberries and sweet peas when the time came. They were looking a bit strange next to pumpkins and leeks, and a combo of paperwhites and sweet peas on the table was looking rather odd. So I guess on balance, I’m all for a bit of extending the season as much as I can – but ultimately you can have too much of a good thing.

…Unless it’s a sweet pea bush, maybe. As a low maintenance, unusual attractive plant in a pot by a front door, I reckon it’s a pretty good choice.