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Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

This flower is a hardy annual climbing plant with rough stems, long stalks, tendril-bearing leaves and seed pods, one to two inches long. The blossom has five petals, the upper one larger than the others. Some varieties have plain petals, others are fringed.

Sweet peas varieties include both double and hooded types of flowers, distinguished by their hues of white, pink, lavender, red, blue, purple, etc. The only color they do not show is yellow.

April Flower

Wild sweet peas have been traced back to Sicily, China, Malta, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, but the true origins of the species are lost to history. The first printed reference is attributed to Francisco Cupani in 1695 in Sicily, where he was in charge of a botanical garden. Cupani published a written description of the plant and sent seed to other European botanists and its cultivation was begun. Sweet peas would eventually become the most widely grown of garden flowers worldwide.

"There is an old belief that if you plant sweet peas on Good Friday, or on St. Patrick's Day, they will grow more abundantly," according to All About the Months.
Popular Cultivars:

English Spencer
Large flowered English Spencer sweet peas derive from the "Countess Spencer," developed in the early 20th century by gardener Silas Cole at Althorp House in England, seat of the Spencer family and home of Princess Diana. These sweet peas have uniquely ruffled, bicolor petals.

Charlies Angel This is a long stemmed Spencer type sweet pea, producing exceptionally delightful large, pale blue overlaid lavender flowers on long stems. It is a highly scented variety.

Eclipse This is a large-flowered purple sweet pea with a very ruffled look. Among the top ten exhibition sweet peas in the 1990s, it won the National Sweet Pea Society Clay Cup for the best vase in the National Show in 1986.

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