. . . three small plantings of annual sweet peas are in various stages of development. The ones from the nursery have reached their promised five feet (they're a dwarf variety) so are sticking up above the top of the four-foot chain-link fence. The ones planted from seed are close to two feet tall, and the ones from the farmer's market are about eight inches tall and just beginning to reach out for the fence.Well, I had certainly forgotten ever buying any sweet pea plants, but I clearly remember that the seed packet promised "mixed" colors and I suspect that the plants I bought were the same. "Mixed," in fact, was what I got, including the white ones I really love best and the dark purple ones that become the focal point of any bouquet.
The next year, on April 11, 2011, I reported on volunteer sweet peas coming up as early as the previous November. These I had moved to stand next to the chain-link fence, interspersing them with seeds saved from 2011's "mixed" crop, plus seeds of a "Blue Celeste" variety that I was really anxious to see in bloom. No way:
Right now I have a bouquet of sweet peas on my desk -- twenty or so dark purple with ONE light pink. Moreover the purple ones have longer stems and larger blossoms, and about half of them are from the volunteer plant that bloomed in November.Whereas 2011's Sweet Pea Report was titled a plethora of purple, 2012's showed up on April 20 as paltry in pink. 2012 was the first year I went for an all-volunteer sweet pea crop, and here's what it looked like:
Now that April is more than half over, the volunteer sweet peas along the fence have barely started to bloom. They're pale pink, with short stems, and the vines are less than two feet tall. Nary a one of the sprawling sweet peas in the front garden has managed to bloom, but some are reaching over a foot long, so I haven't exactly given up hope.After diligently mulching with spent sweet pea vines in the summer of 2012, I went into my second year of all-volunteer sweet pea culture, and as the seedlings came up I let them stand where they had chosen to sprout. Many, as reported on February 18, were in our infamous parking strip. Like this: