I picked enough sweet peas to compose a bouquet yesterday. It’s been a few years since the last time I was able to drink deeply of that ultra-sweet and unique, some say old-fashioned, flower scent.
When I mention my sweet-peas, many people think at first that I am talking about sugar snap peas, the edible-podded peas that were developed only within the last 50 years or so. They are sweet to eat, while these ornamental cousins are sweet to sniff. If the seeds are allowed to develop, one can see by how tough, dry, and stringy they and their pods are that they are not anything you’d want to put in your mouth.
Our sunny garden space is at a minimum, which is why I don’t often plant cool-weather crops that will take up space into the months when I want to plant tomatoes or peppers.
In this particularly bad drought year, I’ve been thinking more seriously that the swimming pool should go. We could fill it in with good soil and immediately double our full-sun gardening potential. We may yet do that, but it’s a big project for which we’d have to get a permit, and this summer will already be quite busy with other events.
The smell of these flowers took me back to my first experience of sweet peas, sometime in the 70’s or 80’s when we lived on 1/3 acre with more than enough sunshine for anything I could set my fancy on. Among the many things I left in the past are my plantings of soybeans and chicken greens, okra and Ogallala strawberries with their foxy Rocky Mountain flavor, asparagus and artichokes. Here is a photo of me standing between the asparagus and the melons.
I am a firm believer in digging in the soil of contentment to find happiness, but I do have my periods of homesickness, the worst of which came on me within a couple of years of moving from our country place into town. I missed my garden so!
More recently I’ve had the good sense to realize that I could never keep up with that much garden or all of the choices I had in that season of life. I seem to need even more restrictions on my opportunities than I ever did, or I get overwhelmed by the decision-making, not to mention the work. I’ve even thought at times how nice it could be to have — gasp! — no garden at all.
I wonder if the time I spent this week, poking around for sad feelings in parched soil, has actually helped me to get over my losses again. Maybe it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I’ve decided to just enjoy sniffing this Spring’s sweet peas. (And I wish this could be a scratch-and-sniff picture I’m sending your way!)