Tag Archives: sweet peas

Sweet and messy every time.



Eight years ago I introduced my blog with a photo of sweet peas from my garden. I’m growing those aromatic favorites again this year. I took the photo below right after I had cut almost all of the flowers I could reach for a bouquet. At this point the only other things in the vegetable beds are a few  basil plants, but pole beans are going in, any minute now.

Back in 2009, I didn’t own an olive tree. Now I have two, and they are blooming right now.

I also didn’t have a feijoa (which Jo reminded me is another name for pineapple guava) until my recent re-landscaping. My big bush is blooming much more than during its first spring here. I think it only had one flower last year.

If the fruit tastes as fancy as those blooms look, we are in for a treat!

Disorderly and Beloved Garden


This morning Mr. Glad and I sat eating our Power Pancakes together, looking out the window at a fat robin who was hopping and flying around the garden.

Patty’s Plum poppy












I could see that there are enough sweet peas to make bouquets for eight neighbors, if I would pick them. The seed beds where I planted hyssop and fennel early in the week need sprinkling.

And the south side of the yard is a jungle! For most of our sojourn here it has been a nuisance getting water to that area, because of having only one faucet and the difficulty of dragging a heavy hose to and fro without smashing plants.

campanula and rhododendron

Last fall we installed automatic irrigation, and the plants that had learned to do with intermittent drought are loving the new normal and are having the time of their lives.

Today I will go out and pull up the lamb’s ears that have grown into the path, and trim back the valerian flowers from the same path. I don’t want to touch the campanula yet, as it’s in its glory.

yellow helianthemum w pincushion

The yellow helianthemum that grows now in the middle of the pincushion flowers, well, it has surprised me by blooming for a few weeks so far.


That makes four helianthema (doesn’t it make sense to call the plural that?) in our garden, yellow, red, pink, and orange. None of the others bloomed as long as this yellow one, but next time they show their flowers I’ll take pictures so that I can write one blog post about the lot of them.


I picked one giant bouquet of the sweet peas for my next-door neighbor. She said that she has been noticing them coming over the fence, and that she and her granddaughter have been drying flowers to make greeting cards. I could see the gleam in her eye as she contemplated all the pretty flowers in that bunch.

As for me, I’m not being at all crafty these days, unless you count the neverending creating of order and space indoors and out. Lots of out-of-the-ordinary things are coming up for the two of us in the next few months, and taking some amount of time and mental effort in preparation. It all makes me treasure today, when I can be home and pull some ordinary weeds.

Seven feet and sweet.

P1100126Every two or three days I try to cut all of the flowers off my sweet pea vines. I have to stretch way up now to reach the top ones, because they are seven feet tall and still growing.

Since the weather turned hot the stems have shortened and I need something like this half-pint milk jar to put them in. I found it earlier this month in a Carson City antique store when Mrs. C. and I were browsing there. Now I wishP1100108 I’d bought several more.

I’ve been scrounging around my cupboards and in the garage to find jars, so that I can take bouquets to friends – so far everyone has been welcoming of their bouquets, but I know that the heavy scent is too much for some people.

Chartwell sweet peas

My vines are very messy compared to the sweet pea rows Pippin and I saw at Chartwell in Kent, Winston Churchill’s country house. I was quite impressed to see such a wealth of sweet peas so meticulously trained and cared for. The English are famously devoted gardeners, aren’t they?

Last night Mr. Glad and I watched the movie “The Last September,” about the English in Cork, Ireland about 1920, and in one scene I was excited to see a bouquet of sweet peas on a table. They looked very like mine!

P1100123 crp

To get a good crop of sweet peas in our area, we have to start them in October. If we wait until Spring, the weather heats up too soon and cuts your pea season short. This is the case with edible peas, too. That white board is what I use to stand on when I’m picking so that I don’t sink in the mud.sweet pea seeds 2013

These are the packets I bought last Fall, but I didn’t get around to using the two dwarf packets, which I had planned to put into pots.

And for the sake of history, a picture of what I think was the last time I made the effort, already seven years ago, in almost the same place, against the previous fence.

roses & sweet peas 07
2007 with roses

Sweet Peas make me so happy, I’m already planning for more seeds and a longer patch of vines for next year


Sweet (Pea) Melancholia

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.

sweet peas first bouqet 4-29-14

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.

G garden 82

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!)