Ten sweet-smelling facts about Sweet Peas
1. Unique to Us
Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) derive their name from the Greek lathyros for pea or pulse, and the Latin odoratus, meaning fragrant. The types of sweet pea we grow in our English flower farm are exclusive to us – we’ve carefully cultivated them from our own seed over the last 28 years.
2. Smell as Sweet
Sweet peas are native to Sicily, Cyprus and Southern Italy. A Sicilian monk is said to have sent the first sweet pea seeds to England in the 17th century and they became popular in the late-Victorian era after being cultivated by Henry Eckford.
3. Quintessentially English
As well as their flowers and scent, our sweet peas are known for their long, straight stems. This is in part thanks to the climate of our flower farm near Chichester in West Sussex, where the cool, sunny conditions allow the plants to grow slowly, producing their elegant, long stems.
4. Sweet Pea Care
Growing your own sweet peas this year? Our founder and leading horticulturalist Rosebie Morton’s top tip is to take time to prepare your soil. Use a good-quality organic fertiliser and ensure you plant your seeds deep enough (see packet for details). Greedy sweet peas need to be fed and watered frequently. For long stems, trim off side shoots and tie a support just under the blooms.
5. Peas in a Pod
Each year Rosebie and our lead sweet pea farmer travel the world in search of the best new varieties. In Japan large flowers are prized while Australia produces some wonderfully frilly blooms. We’re trialling some new varieties this year that we can’t wait to share with you.
6. British Grown Wedding Flowers
Our head florist Becky got married in May, surrounded by sweet peas –the perfect choice for an English country wedding. We supply the finest-quality scented sweet peas from our English flower farm to some of the UK’s top florists. We can also supply DIY wedding flowers direct from our Hampshire and West Sussex farms. You can find out more here.
7. Keep Sweet
Sweet peas are known to be long-lasting. Over the past quarter century we’ve perfected our varieties and growing techniques to ensure that the blooms from our sweet pea flower farm in West Sussex have an exceptional vase life.
8. Cut Stem Care
To ensure your cut sweet pea stems last as long as possible, change the water regularly. Either use flower food or a spoon of sugar, a spoon of vinegar and a dash of bleach to keep your flowers fresh and blooming.
9. More Than a Pretty Bloom
Sweet peas are a member of the legume family – so the flowers can help improve the quality of your soil by increasing its nitrogen content.
10. The Meaning of Sweet Peas
In the language of flowers (sometimes called floriography), sweet peas symbolise bliss, pleasure and leaving after a positive experience. So sweet peas are a great way to say thank you. Our Ivory Sweet Pea & Lavender Bouquet makes the perfect thank you gift and our Bright Garden Rose and Sweet Pea Bouquet is a wonderful choice for birthdays.