Sweet pea, Sugar plum, light of my life

Oh sweet peas. Evocative, scented, tendril-strewn, climbing, tumbling, bold vines with the most intricate flowers in glowing jewel colours. There are the brights, and the creams. I’ve picked some for their stem length, some for the intensity of their colour and some, I freely admit, for how much I love their name. Piggy Sue, I’m looking at you.

Coral pops or classy creams, pick your colour and grow en masse for impact.

All these are hardy annuals and can be sown direct in Spring. Start cutting as soon as they flower and do not stop. They’ll keep going until late Autumn with a little bit of a feed and if you don’t let seed pods form.

A lesson in romance: creams, blushes, Soft, Blue, the neutrals

Sweet pea 'Jilly'

Big, beautiful creamy blooms.

My favourite. Softly coloured and elegant in form. They open in cream and then lighten to ivory.

Sweet pea 'Bristol'

Soft blue with waved cream edges.

Highly scented variety with large flowers on strong stems.

Sweet pea 'Charlie's Angel'

Romantic powder blue.

Generally accepted as one of the best sweet peas for cutting. Long stems, big flowers, great scent, good vase life. What’s not to love?

Sweet pea 'Piggy Sue'

Pink flush on cream ground.

The smash hit of the 2019 season. Armfuls and armfuls of the most beautiful blush. I cannot take my eyes of these. And not pink-pink, I promise. This is soft, elegant, beguiling. Early flowering and prolific, it’s a great flower to grow for weddings. Or for giving to someone who loves pigs.

Sweet pea 'Betty Maiden'

Strikingly unusual blue ripple.

As someone who grew up with the old-fashioned name of Grace, I feel a sympathetic affinity with names from the fifties. Betty is definitely due a comeback and this Betty Maiden is a great example of some serious style.

Sweet pea 'Enchante'

Tri-colour of cherry-pink, lavender & cream

Some things are greater than the sum of their parts, and Enchante is one. The colours mingle to pop and glitter in sunlight, but take on a truly sublime depth when you cut and bring them into the house.


Dark Drama: The riches

Sweet pea 'Windsor'

Dramatic maroon, almost chocolate

Warmly coloured and warmly scented. Just gorgeous.

Sweet pea 'Eclipse'

Warm purple blooms and an intoxicating scent.

Most sweet peas lighten as their flowers age, Eclipse intensifies. Stronger and warmer and brighter until it is a big and bold purple. It also is unusual in its length of blooming, giving buckets of stems in a season.

Sweet pea 'Nimbus'

Inky purple-grey streaked blooms.

The best of the best. The most intricate and the most beautiful, with the bonus of a long stem and even better vase life.


Mad crazy neon brights: the cheerful ones

Sweet pea 'Valerie Harrod'

Fizzingly orange-pink blooms.

I should hate these, but there is something so fantastically post-modernly unapologetic about them. Reclaim the pink. Grow some Valerie.

Sweet pea 'Dusty Springfield'

Unapologetically orange-red blooms.

Ok, so I just love the name.  I don’t usually grow such bright colours but this one is brave and bold and so out there, that I am more than happy to give it the space to flourish.

Sweet pea 'Restormel'

Pops of coral-red blooms.

Restormel is not for the faint hearted. So bright, it practically glows in the dark. It’s a favourite because of its generosity and long-stemmed cutability.

Sweet pea 'Erewhon'

A super-stylish bi-colour dark lavender and strong pink

If I hadn’t already committed to Jilly as my favourite, Erewhon would be it. It is rich but delicate, strong but sophisticated, she is an absolute cracker.