Sweet peas


Each year my mum grows sweet peas. I remember before we lived in the countryside full time and in the days before Carol used to grow her own, she’d go a little crazy whenever we passed a ramshackle road side stall selling a miserly handfull of dusty stems. She’d cry out ‘sweet peas, stop, Clive, Stop!’  My dad would swerve, break and hand my mum whatever exorbitant fee the flower seller demanded. I understood: sweet peas are beyond price. For me they remain the smell of childhood summers.

Since moving to Dorset and starting her garden, Carol has grown sweet peas every summer. Some (braver than me) might say she grows them slightly obsessively. Every year she panics that she has not started enough seeds and so buys some seedlings too, just in case. She now has three vast wigwams of sweet peas. Some are the classic summer pastels — pink, white, blue, lilac — but she has nurtured some unusual variegated varieties, my favourite is a ink-blot, leopard-spot black.


This is from a single cutting session -- it looked like we had barely cut any

2 Responses to “Sweet peas”

  1. Kate says:

    The smell of sweet peas is truly wonderful!

    So sorry I couldn’t make your book do in Yeovil. I hear it went really well.

    I’m loving viola! Today is a perfect day for sitting out on the beach and reading it 🙂

  2. Sue Clamp says:

    I just read “The Novel in the Viola” in two days. I loved it so much and couldn’t put it down till I’d finished! It’s quite rare for a book to move me to tears, but yours did! I read Mr Rosenblum’s List a short while ago. You are a very talented writer and I look forward to reading more of your work.
    On the subject of sweet peas, I used to grow them in my parents’ garden when I was young, and tried to grow some perennial ones this year but they died on me 🙁 On the other hand, I managed to grow a profusion of love-in-a-mist and some really crazy trailing nasturtiums! Must try harder with sweet peas next year!

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