Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sweet Peas

Once spring breaks, I think I'll again try growing sweet peas. This will be the third or fourth attempt. One year I dug the seeds in too early and they rotted in the cold earth. Another year I planted them too late and an early May heat wave cooked them. In the spring of '97 I planted my sweet peas in too much shade and they failed to thrive. There probably was another time, but now that I'm 60 (!) I forget things.

Still, the siren song of these old-fashioned, fragrant flowers calls to me. I can just see gathering armloads for the house, or giving them away in a nosegay. I can visualize the pastel colors and the cunning tendrils spilling over the white hobnail vase which was a gift from my mother. So when the new seed racks at Agway beckoned last week, it didn't take too much self-convincing to grab a couple of packs. I chose 'Floribunda', an early producer, and 'Perfume Delight', a variety known to be heat tolerant. I've got a sunny area picked out, next to the arbor and adjacent to a 'Ludvig von Spath' deep purple lilac. I figure the plants can grow either up the arbor or through Ludvig; their choice. I'll wait until the ground warms up to sow the seeds, probably around the latter part of March. And then I'll pray for success.

I grow many plants from seed each year, but I always insist on trying something new with the turn of the calendar. I'm not sure sweet peas really count, as I've tried them before, but hope surely springs eternal in the gardener, doesn't it?

Hope, and of course, folly.

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