A garden miracle: A sweet pea flower.

What’s Blooming Today?

I’ll tell you what’s blooming: my very first sweet pea.

sweet pea Lathyrus odoratus

I can’t believe it.

Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are enchanting flowers, but at least for me, they have been impossible to grow. Sweet peas need a long period of cool, damp weather to grow well, and we don’t see those conditions frequently. It’s more typical that we get two weeks of relatively pleasant weather, then a few scorching days that blast the sweet peas into oblivion.

This one is climbing on a rose bush that I moved to make way for my rain garden. I noticed the sweet pea foliage sprouting up when I moved the root ball but assumed it would peter out as it always has done. I haven’t given it (or the rose, sadly) any particular attention this spring, but the weather has been more than accommodating, with deep soaking rains.

Tuesday morning I took a short stroll around the garden to deadhead what I could. As I passed by this little garden room, I thought, “What on earth is that pink thing? More campion?” (The campion is everywhere.) As I got closer, I was absolutely astonished.

sweet pea Lathyrus odoratus

It has a light but spicy scent.

The thing that intrigues me most about this occurrence is that I planted the seeds last year, or perhaps even the year before. They are supposed to be annual flowers. The vine grew a few inches last year, then collapsed in the heat of summer. But I suppose the soil conditions were adequate for the roots to continue growing. I will be interested to see if I can gather any seed this year. I don’t imagine it will perennialize–it’s not an actual perennial, but many annuals will act like perennials in certain situations, because they reseed themselves without the assistance of the gardener–but if I do get any seed I will try planting one or two in the fall, and the rest in late winter to see what I can make of them.


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