My Top 7 Sweet Peas
Every year at Easton Walled Gardens, we grow 100 varieties of what we consider to be the best sweet peas available on wigwams, drums and supports.
In amongst the rows of tangled colour and scent, there are about 25 varieties that are especially reliable, floriferous and scented. To celebrate our sweet pea week, here is my selection of 7 top performing varieties from amongst those superstars of the best sweet peas to grow.
1.Sweet Pea ‘Duo Salmon’
A darling of a sweet pea; its’ red and pink petals glow in the evening light and there are lots of them! Duo Salmon was bred by Unwins in 2009 and awarded an AGM in 2010, we grow this sweet pea every year. It is always strong and covered in flower.
Particularly suitable for growing on its own for a column of colour. It has a light, pretty scent. If you particularly want a sweet pea that looks great when you come home from work, you could also try Evening Glow or Valerie Harrod. They have the same luminosity when the sunlight slants across the garden at dusk.
Sweet Pea ‘White Frills’
White sweet peas have a minimalist sophistication without losing the romance of ruffles and scent. They can be difficult to source as the stock tends to deteriorate (usually the flowers are smaller than they should be.) We have found White Frills to be the best in its class. It has a delicious scent and makes a robust plant with up to four flowers on each stem. Definitely a contender for best wedding sweet pea.
Sweet Pea ‘Almost Black’
The brooding Mr Rochester to modest pale Jane Eyre sweet peas, this really dark sweet pea is very popular with our visitors. ‘Almost Black’ stands out immediately from other grandifloras in the same bed and makes a great contrast in white and blue bunches. Being a grandiflora, the flowers are smaller than some modern sweet peas but it has a great scent.
Sweet Pea ‘Our Harry’
I love this sweet pea. Even its name sums up the tradition of sweet pea growing in this country. In ‘Our Harry’ you can hear the unpretentious commitment to the allotment or small holding that has created some of our greatest sweet peas. The colour is a beautiful clear blue and we come back to it year after year for its reliability.
Sweet Pea ‘Mollie Rilstone’
If you have ever admired the muted pinks and greens on cream found in Colefax and Fowler fabrics you will know why this is such a successful sweet pea. The rose-edged picotee flowers on a cream ground are as beautiful in bud as they are in flower. Mollie Rilstone has a good scent and is highly suitable for cutting. We have grown this sweet pea for over 10 years and it continues to be an excellent choice for a cottage garden or a pink and blue border scheme.
6. Sweet Pea ‘Watermelon’
Fairly new to us but now a staple of the semi-grandiflora section of our sweet pea beds. (Actually, Watermelon isn’t a semi-grandiflora but its bushy habit is similar so we include it here.)
The charm of these peachy pink flowers only becomes really apparent when combined with a light blue pea. Try it with Chatsworth, Kingfisher or Albutt Blue, either wrapped around a support in the garden or in a bunch.
Sweet Pea ‘Henry Thomas’
It is the intense red colour of Sweet Pea ‘Henry Thomas’ that draws us back every year. The only other sweet pea we grow in this colour is ‘Winston Churchill’ but he can be remarkably obstinate about germinating.
The richness of the red can be appreciated over a long period which is catalogue-speak for a plant that will give you lots of frilly flowers on strong stems that will need picking regularly. A great choice for arrangements.
So there you have it, we think these are outstanding in the their colour and class. Let us know on instagram, facebook or twitter what your favourites are – search @ewgardens.