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Sweet Pea Season

Posted on June 18, 2024 in Latest Stories and Stories

Welcome to our last blog in the series of growing your Sweet Peas with Easton Walled Gardens, we hope that yours are doing well, have survived the onslaught of slugs this year and are beginning to flower.

As our Sweet Pea season starts soon, we are busy nurturing ours to get them into their peak performance for when everyone comes to visit the gardens just to experience the glorious scent as it wafts through the towers of Sweet Peas and to amble through the displays choosing their favourite ones.

We have displays of our Autumn sown Sweet Peas in the Vegetable Garden, and our Spring sown in the walled garden. We collect the seed to sell online and in our shop, so you can choose your favourites and then buy the seed ready for next year. This year we also have a display in the Pickery of the Semi Grandifloras growing up an ornate metal gazebo, close by the Applestore cafe.

We are famous for our Sweet Pea displays and have featured on Gardeners world and in many top garden magazines.

So here are our top tips for getting your Sweet Peas into tip top condition and enjoying them for the next couple of months.

  1. Feed, feed, feed! Sweet Peas are peas after all and are very greedy things. We planted ours into pits filled with manure and rich homemade compost but they still need constant feeding. We spray using a foliar feed every week of liquid seaweed and a product called SP plant invigorator which acts as a non pesticidal insecticide and fungicide. You could use a spray or quite simply water with a diluted tomato feed weekly.
  2. Water! To produce and keep your plants healthy they need regular watering, don’t always presume because we’ve had some rain that they are ok, especially if you have them growing in a pot. You wont want them waterlogged but they do best when kept moist at the roots.
  3. Tying in, once your plants get settled they will begin to romp away quite quickly. We find we are tying in every few days. The long stems are quite brittle so can snap easily in the breeze or sometimes get away so quickly while your back is turned that they grab hold of the nearest bush or plant where you don’t want them to head to. So gently tying the stems to the supports helps to keep your display tip top and secure.
  4. Cutting flowers. Any plants aim in its life is to produce flowers and set seed to carry on its genetics, so as soon as it is able your Sweet Peas will start producing flowers and at the early stage this will just be the odd one or two. Pick all of these off as you would when cutting them later and enjoy them in a small bud vase, this will encourage the plant to put out more shoots and more flowers every time, leading to a strong vibrant display in a few weeks.

We get asked a lot about the tendrils and whether to remove or not. We don’t find it makes any difference to the vigour of the plant and don’t remove ours, but if you so wish theres no reason not to. The only time we will remove them is if we notice while tying in or cutting flowers that a tendril is close to a long stem. This is where they potentially can cause problems if you want a nice long flower stem and the tendril has tried to strangle the stem making it all twisted.

Talking of flower stems, we also get asked about how to achieve nice long stems for cutting. Apart from the aforementioned, it can depend on the variety you grow as some of the older Heritage varieties are shorter stemmed. However, the longest straightest stems come directly from the main stem, this is why Show Growers use the cordon method for growing their Sweet Peas. You will naturally find the first few flushes of flowers are longer stems and as the plant grows and branches out from the main stem the flowers will naturally get shorter stems, but still just as beautiful and fragrant! Once they get to this stage its lovely to display them in small posies with other flowers from the garden.

And thats our top tips, make sure you take notes on all of this as its only 3 – 4 months before you can start your Autumn sown ones ready for next year!

Do come along for Sweet Pea season it will be great to meet you and talk about how yours have done. But don’t forget the gardens are open all year from February until Christmas and the gardens are so much more than just Snowdrops and Sweet peas. We have the Walled Garden over the picturesque stone bridge with Rose meadows and Orchards, the Magnificent Yew tunnel, an out of this world, White Space Garden, meadow terraces and the stunning Pickery with ornamental veg beds and cut flower beds oh and the Cottage garden is a delight, theres so much to see you must come visit us.

We hope to see you soon. The Garden Team