The first sweet pea bloom of the year is a cause for celebration, particularly considering the attempts I’ve made to grow them since I was seventeen! Last year was my initial success with the elusive little things. You simply must sow the seeds where they are to grow, (after an overnight soak in water) and no later than January. October is best—of course, I’m speaking from the perspective of a Southern zone 7 garden–so that they have a nice good chill in the earth before a late winter emergence. A good trellis or fence to grow on and plenty of manure tea or compost and a mulch to keep the roots cool is all they will ask of you. And in return, such beautiful little bonnets of pink and white and lavender and purple!
In the Victorian era Language of Flowers, sweet peas bore the message of ‘delicate pleasures’. I know of few flowers so aptly named. Once their requirements are met, the growing of them is in itself a ‘delicate pleasure’.