A new year and lots of new ideas, I love January – so much time and headspace to day dream about the next season. Fuelled by glossy seed catalogues and home-baked cakes my imagination goes into overdrive. Most of my ideas will be shelved for another year, but a few filter through into reality…
One of these is to offer more training for new flower growers and encourage people to grow cut flowers in their own gardens. The Great British Garden Revival reinforced my resolve so I thought I would start the new year with a ‘Sweet Pea Grow Along’.
What is a Grow Along?
It is just a way to guide you through growing a particular flower with regular blog posts and/or tweets. Anyone can join in, share their experience and results with others. If this one is a success I might choose a few more favourites to grow along with everyone.
If you want to take it to the next level, have a look at our Sweet Pea masterclass.
I have decided that Sweet Peas are an ideal flower to start with: everyone loves them, they do not need loads of space or high tech equipment. They are easy to grow but need a bit of extra skill and knowledge to grow to cut flower quality.
Each month I will post a blog entitled Sweet Pea Grow Along, it will include a photographic tutorial of what to do next and I will encourage comments and feedback from everyone taking part. If you want to be reminded of when to check the blog, join us on Twitter @GandGorgeous
What will you need?
Firstly some seeds. We are going to grow Spencer varieties, which have lovely long stems, big frilly flowers and of course lots of scent. They come in an array of colours, I will recommend my favourites for cutting.
Buying your sweet peas from a reputable supplier is highly recommended, so no garden centre packs!
I always use Owl Acre, they are sweet pea specialists and have a great range. I am a big fan of single colour packets so you have full control over your colour mix. They come in packs of 20 which is enough for one teepee/wigwam.
I have been trialling sweet peas for 12 years now and these varieties are my favourites for vigour, stem length, abundance of flower, vibrant colour and fragrance.
Limelight (creamy green)
Oban Bay (ice blue)
Gwendoline (rose pink)
Our Harry (mid blue)
Dark Passion (deep purple)
White Frills (pure white and very frilly)
Valerie Harrod (coral)
Anniversary (pink picotee)
Sir Jimmy Shand (lilac ripple)
Next you will need some good deep pots or rootrainers. Sweet peas like a long root run and have a mass of roots, that is why people sometimes use loo rolls. I favour rootrainers which you can buy quite widely now, at Haxnicks for example.
I use a good quality seed compost with added vermiculite.
The next blog will be about sowing, ground preparation and supports, which I plan to do next month.