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Six of the best scented sweet peas

Posted on July 11, 2018 in Gardening advice, Latest Stories, Summer and Sweet Peas

Six of the best scented sweet peas.

These are some of our favourite sweet peas. They have a great scent and are reliably good varieties. Every year we grow 50 or so cultivars. Through experience  we have found the best sweet peas for cutting and growing in the garden. When a sweet pea variety starts to wane (as they all do except for some of the remarkable very old sweet peas) we will trial similar colours and replace one with the other. Linda Carole (see below) is an excellent example of this.

Linda Carole 2012

Lathyrus odoratus  ‘Linda Carole’

Launched by Derek Heathcote who has produced some fine varieties since he started his business in 1992. This striking flower is similar to ‘Mars’ but seems to come better from seed. It has a carmine stripe and a delicate line outlining the white background (called a ‘picotee’ in sweet pea speak). Very good scent for a new variety. We have grown Linda Carole for about four years and particularly recommend it for cutting.


Lathyrus odoratus ‘Matucana’

An old fashioned variety that has been around for hundreds of years. It is perhaps the most famous of the really fragrant sweet peas. The flower is smaller than the modern varieties but what it lacks in size it makes up for with an amazing scent. 10/10 on the smellometer!  Lots of flowers on a bushy plant. Add the flowers to a larger bouquet by tucking them into the back and the scent will weave through the posy.

Our Harry 1

Lathyrus odoratus ‘Our Harry.’

When we started growing sweet peas, we raised well known blue varieties such as ‘Noel Sutton’. One year at the Chelsea Flower Show,  I saw this pea across a crowded floral marquee and was immediately smitten. A scented blue sweet pea with big flowers, the clean translucent colour really appeals to me. A number of similar blue sweet peas have appeared on the market recently so we have decided to allocate a trial bed for blue sweet peas for 2019. It will be interesting to see if the quality and scent can match the beautiful ‘Our Harry’.

Sweet Pea Evening Glow (6)

Sweet Pea ‘Valerie Harrod.’

is a notable addition to any sweet pea collection as it has a peachy tone in its soft pink flowers that is absent from most other peas. This is a connoisseurs sweet pea. It has good scent for a Spencer sweet pea, produces big beautiful flowers and grows vigorously. Sweet Pea ‘Evening Glow’ is similar in colour. Mix in a bunch with pastels or go for complementary colours such as ‘Our Harry’ or ‘Kingfisher.’ This is looking very healthy and full of flower on our sweet pea supports.

EWG 5.7.12 (170)

Grandiflora Sweet Peas

The very old sweet pea varieties are quite remarkable.  They may be called Grandiflora Sweet Peas, Antique Sweet Peas or Heritage Sweet Peas. They have smaller flowers than modern or spencer varieties but they are exceptionally gardenworthy because their plants are so bushy and packed with lots of flowers. They are also the best sweet pea for containers. Their standout quality is the remarkable amount of scent they produce so if you want the best scented sweet peas then grandifloras are the ones to grow. This picture shows ‘The Major’ in the foreground with red ‘Queen Alexandra’ behind.

Over 50 varieties of sweet pea are on show in the gardens and you can find our handpicked collection of sweet pea seed available for sale in the gardens or through our online shop.