My Big, Fat Sweet Pea Post! And a Giveaway!

sweet peas 1The truth is, I’m not thinking at all about Sweet Peas right now.

With all the suckiness going on in our personal lives, I’ve been spending my time cleaning out our house to donate things we no longer want/need and settling into the mindset that it’s time to leave, one way or another. I always know that I’m getting restless and ready for a BIG change when I become obsessed with design shows. About 15 years ago, right before I bought my first house, my love for Christopher Lowell blossomed and I blabbed on and on about “lifts and levels” and the importance of not forgetting the ceiling in a room to anyone who crossed paths with me. Poor souls.

This time it’s Manhattan Nest (thanks to a tip from this lovely lady) a design and renovation blog that has basically consumed me to the point where I’m actually dreaming about painting doors the perfect shade of black whilst having Daniel Kanter tsk tsk over my shoulder because I’m “doing it all wrong.” I know, I’m a freak.

Sweet Peas 2So I’m not really thinking about sweet peas, but I should be, and you should be, too, if you want some in your garden next spring. That’s because for many of us, Autumn is the best time to get these started. Crazy, right?

Sweet Peas 3Let’s keep this simple, shall we? EVERYTHING you need to know about cultivating these beauties can be found HERE on Floret’s blog. End of story.

Sweet Peas 4You can do what I did, which is skip the warming mat needed to aid in germination, but that would be bad advice! Not using a warming mat caused my germination rate to plummet, which actually turned out to be a good thing or I would have had more seedlings than I knew what to do with, but still. I will be spending the $ on a mat for next time and sowing half the number of seeds.

Sweet Pea 5Everything else Erin recommended I followed to a T and had amazing results. Truly, sweet peas coming out my ears for months. It was getting kind of embarrassing, how many I was picking–DAILY. Like, armloads. I was pressing bouquets into the hands of anyone who would take them.

Sweet Pea 6Our setup wasn’t fancy. Remember this new garden bed? Yup, we used that whole space for sweet peas this year. We stretched Tenax supported by metal stakes spanning the entire length and that was that. I tied up the vines periodically, as needed. Until the Tenax was completely covered, though, it looked a little too slapped together for my liking so for future, we plan on installing a permanent structure, like this, that will look good year-round. Speech about being ready to have a garden that’s completely my own, and soon.

Sweet Peas 7 Sweet Peas 8Sweet-Peas-9Looking at these photos now, I feel like the colors aren’t coming through as delicately beautiful and saturated as they were in real life and of course someone has yet to invent a scratch-n-sniff computer screen. I’m sure you can imagine how the scent of this sweet pea border was transporting and the colors so much more lovely in person.

Sweet Peas 10 Sweet Peas 11Most of my seeds were purchased through Owl Acre  but a few packets were also picked up from Renee’s Garden Seeds. If you live in a really cold climate as we do (zone 6 and below), you may want to sow your seeds in late January/early February like I did. I found that was perfect timing for our area to get them into an unheated greenhouse situation immediately after germinating while not being too cold for them to continue growing. If memory suits, I planted the seedlings out into the border sometime in late March/early April and they were in full swing by May/June. But again, those of you who live in warmer climes will want to sow your seeds now. Read Erin’s post! She’ll tell you all about it.

Sweet Peas 12A Collection of Early Sweet Peas ~ Stretched Canvas Print

Sweet Peas 14Blush Pink Sweet Peas ~ Stretched Canvas Print 

Sweet Peas 13Lavender Sweet Peas ~ Stretched Canvas Print

Sweet Peas 'North Shore'Some of my favorites were: ‘Erewhon’, ‘Mollie Rilstone’, ‘Nimbus’, ‘North Shore’ and ‘Windsor’. More photos of these (in particular, ‘Nimbus’) can be found on my Instagram if you’d like to take a peek!

Sweet Peas 15


Sweet Peas GiveawayI collected quite a few seeds and I would love to share 5 extra packets with readers!

I’m not guaranteeing what kind of colors and heights you’ll get because you know how it can be in an open-pollinated garden with these hybrid types. (There may even be a “knee-high” blend in this mix.) But if you’re feeling adventurous and would like a packet of free seeds, simply leave me a comment to let you know you dropped by and I’ll select 5 random winners soon. Yes, I’ll ship seeds outside the U.S. so don’t be shy! EDIT: Due to prohibitions of mailing plant material to other countries, in future these types of giveaways will have to be for U.S. residents only. Sorry!


Thank you all for your wonderful comments, it’s always so nice to hear from you and to know I’m not just talking to myself in this crazy world of blogging. The seed winners are: Louise, Julia, Beca, Linda, Julie and Barbara. (I selected 6 winners instead of 5 since Beca, even though randomly selected, is my mom so I didn’t think that was entirely fair since she always gets seeds from me anyways!) Emails have been sent but if you didn’t hear from me get in touch so I can get your address.

Sweet Peas 17

30 thoughts on “My Big, Fat Sweet Pea Post! And a Giveaway!

  1. Hi! Lovely photos and post!
    Last year I saw your sweetpeas photos and i couldn’t believe how gorgeus they were!! Congrats! I’ll love to plant some in my garden, a hot place in Spain! Thank you! Pat

      1. haha, still waiting for the Autumn here in Spain, I will soon plant my sweet peas!
        Can I ask you something?
        I have a David Austin climbing rose, and is totally devoured for some kind of caterpillars! don’t want to kill them, but maybe some kind of repellent? what do you think?
        thank you!
        (love your roses too!)

        1. Hi Pat! I don’t spray my roses preferring instead to encourage beneficial insects to help keep pests down. In our garden, I’ve found praying mantis to be most beneficial for controlling larvae. In the states we can order egg cases online (after you get them established you won’t need to keep buying egg cases) but not sure where you can find those in Spain. Maybe a place that sells organic garden supplies? In the meantime, try handpicking them. At first it may seem overwhelming, but if you are consistent and spend a little time every day I think you’ll start to see some improvement. Last, perhaps consider encouraging birds into your garden to help you do some of that work (especially in spring when they’re feeding their babies!) Adding a birdbath, or even a small fountain since they love the sound of running water, will draw them in. Good luck! 🙂

  2. Hi Laurie,
    Your images are gorgeous as always. Do you think I could grow sweet peas in containers? If yes, would love to win some seeds from you.

  3. I adore sweet peas and would love to grow some of these lovely varieties. Thanks for the tips – sometimes my sweet peas do seem a little subpar. Your photos are stunning by the way (but then, there’s nothing unusual about that!!).

  4. Gorgeous as always.. love that beautiful
    colors of sweet peas. do you think that
    will grow here in my hot Florida? I will
    love to have them grow in my yard.

    1. Thanks Annie! I found this article written for Florida Horticultural Society that talks about growing sweet peas in Florida. Sounds like you could make them work!

  5. Thank you for the imformation about growing
    sweet peas in Florida. I will gave them a
    try in containers see what happen.

  6. i just love all of these! I read th
    at awesome Floret article earlier this spring and but the one packet of Renee’s I planted didn’t do so well. But this year I have a 4’x80′ (:D) space for a cutting garden, so I will have room for all the varities !

    Ps love your blog 🙂

    1. Thank you Linda! Sounds like you have the perfect space for some beautiful flowers next spring. Lovely to have you here!

  7. of course I will enter this giveaway for your seeds and in return I wonder if you would like a few Hyacinth Beans that found their way into my pocket on Wednesday while visiting the Botanical Garden…

    1. Hi Juliette! It’s funny because I actually just found a stash of hyacinth bean seeds the other day when I was cleaning out the garage. Thank you, tho, for the kind offer!

      1. I just collected mine this week and have been reading about them. They seem to be very popular and easy to grow. I wonder if they are a little easier than sweet peas in terms of not having to start them so early? what are your thoughts on that crucial subject…hahaha!

  8. Oh wow .. the memories – Christopher Lowell! Lifts and levels, I still think of him whenever I am do a display. Thanks for that memory.

    And thanks for these beautiful pictures of your sweet peas, and the reminder it is time to start thinking about them.

    Don’t you love that seeds take up such little room. You can move a whole garden in bucket.

    Lovely post!

    1. Yes, a garden in a bucket! Or in my case, a big box…I’ve been packing away seeds this past week for our “someday house.”

      Remember how we used to talk about C.L.’s show all the time? I still think about that stuff we learned, too!

  9. Hi Laurie. Your sweetpeas are so pretty. They’re such a wonderful, old-fashioned flower. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving the very kind comment. I’m glad you did, for it brought me here. What a lovely blog you have! I like all your images and your writing style. So refreshing. Lots of good gardening information, your chili with the squash looks amazing (must try that recipe). I’m following you with Bloglovin’ and look forward to what you share. Hugs, Nancy

      1. Oh my gosh Nancy, thank you! I am so glad I found your blog, too. I have been so inspired by all your posts (in particular love the one about the tiny house with the romantic interior and you and your husband’s former cabin in CO). So grateful for your visit!

  10. I would LOVE to try some sweet peas! They’re so pretty, but I’ve never grown my own! I’m planting two beds of lilies now… don’t you just love dirty hands!!

  11. Thanks for your informative posts and learnings in your garden. Blessings to you and your fam as you transition and move on to your next journey. Can’t wait to see your new gardens and all that they hold! Have a great week!

    1. Thank you Cole! Truth be told, I’m a little excited about the possibility of a blank slate. Hope you have a great week, as well!

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