With two weeks to go until Sweet Pea Week, here are six of our favourite varieties of Lathyrus odoratus that will soon be putting on a dazzling display for visitors, alongside 79 others!
Click on each photo to find the seeds in our online shop, or choose from more than 30 different varieties during your next visit – nothing beats the scent or sight of seeing sweet peas in real life.
Linda Carole: A new variety of sweet pea with beautiful pink striped white flowers. Just one of the record 85 varieties on show this year.
Fire and Ice: A delicate, highly scented bi-coloured variety. Enjoy its purple and cream flowers before indulging in a cream tea from our famous tea room.
Our Harry: A wonderful annual with clear, blue flowers and a good scent that grows well against a sunny garden wall. We’ll have plenty of advice for growing your own stunning sweet peas between 29 June – 6 July.
Henry Thomas: A striking new annual variety with deep red flowers that has fast become one of our favourite varieties. It will soon be flowering in The Pickery, inside Easton’s 400-year-old grounds.
Comet: A rare annual with delightful cream and pink-striped flowers which are similar in colour to the exclusive David Austin’s roses we have growing here in the Rose Meadow.
Mrs Collier: An elegant classic with a strong scent, this was one of the first varieties to be displayed here after Ursula Cholmeley began restoring Easton 13 years ago.
Six of the Best.
Our favourite sweet peas (this week anyway)
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.
Lathyrus odoratus ‘Matucana’ an old fashioned variety that has been around for 100s of years. 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!
Lathyrus odoratus ‘Our Harry.’ When we started growing sweet peas, we raised well known blue varieties such as ‘Noel Sutton’. One year at Chelsea I saw this pea across a crowded floral marquee and was immediately smitten. A very reliable, scented form with big flowers, this is the very beautiful ‘Our Harry’
Sweet Pea ‘Evening Glow’ 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 some scent and grows vigorously. Sweet Pea ‘Valerie Harrod’ is similar in colour. This is looking very healthy and full of flower on our sweet pea canes.
Grandiflora Sweet Peas are sometimes called Antique or Heritage Sweet Peas. This picture shows ‘The Major’ in the foreground with red ‘Queen Alexandra’ behind. They are smaller than their newer cousins but make very gardenworthy plants because of they produce masses of flowers and have a very strong scent.
75 varieties of sweet pea are on show in the gardens now and you can find seed available for sale in the gardens or through our online shop (Please note all photographs are Copyright Fred Cholmeley.)
Sweet Pea Week
Sweet Pea Week starts this Sunday and we are really looking forward to welcoming our friends and lots of new visitors. The gardens are open every day from 30th June to 7th July and the forecast is as good as we could hope for.
While the sweet peas are a little short, the beautiful flowers are in full bloom and of great quality – a fantastic achievement after a slow spring. We have been highlighting some of our best sweet peas on our Facebook page this week.
The roses in the meadows are now starting to unfurl and the first of the annuals are coming into flower.
We have been delighted to welcome two groups for evening visits as well as visitors from South America, the USA and Australia who have been particularly charmed by how romantic and ‘English’ the garden is looking now.
Also this week, I have been working on two commissions from The English Garden and RHS The Garden Magazine and we have welcomed nationally renowned photographers from both. We are expecting more photographers next week.
We have already begun looking ahead to the Autumn, ordering a wonderful selection of bulbs suitable for planting later in the year. Landy has been very busy completing the listings for our Workshop Week in October.
Once again, we have some fantastic courses planned including creative writing, rose care, paper and basket making, felt work, knitting and painted furniture techniques as well as a fantastic wreath making workshop just in time for the festive season.
Information about all of the courses is pinned up in the History Room and you can book by calling the office, or in person at the shop. If you would like to receive a brochure please email Mary.