When Tom and I first moved in together in the late 1990s, we rented a tiny house in Sheffield that we affectionately dubbed “claustrophobia”. The tiny house came with a tiny garden, and I cut out a section of turf there and planted sweet peas. In the Summer, there was always a bunch on the table.


The first things that I planted in my propagators early this Spring were sweet peas. I planted and staked them out in May, and left them to it.


They grew vigorously, but didn’t seem to want to flower. I have been eyeing the birds suspiciously – had they been chowing down on the tasty buds? There is a particular pied wagtail who seems to spend a lot of time in that part of the garden and he was my chief culprit . . . but he was clearly blameless, as yesterday some beautiful blooms finally appeared.


I dearly love sweet peas, both indoors, and in the garden. I hope there will always be a bunch on the table for the rest of this Summer.

In other news
I don’t do this very often, but, knowing first-hand just how transformative dogs can be, I wanted to give a wee shout-out to my friend Mairead who is raising funds for the Irish charity My Canine Companion who do wonderful work training and providing service dogs for autistic children and their families. Mairead’s son Thomas has Asperger syndrome and his service dog, Potter has made a tremendous difference to his life, and indeed to the lives of Mairead’s whole family. On August 3rd, Mairead is holding a coffee morning and raffle to raise funds to support the training of more service dogs, and among other great prizes, you could win an Ipad or, if you were, ahem, really lucky, one of my Peerie Flooers kits. 5 euro buys you a ticket and Mairead’s fundraising page is here


Thomas and Potter!

24 thoughts on “sweet peas

  1. I’ve never been able to raise sweet peas from seeds, but several years ago I found that the local nursery has “starts” beginning in March. So I plant where they get morning sun and afternoon shade and have a profusion of blooms from mid June to mid October. I share a bunch with someone at Church on Sunday mornings and have the mid-week blooms for us. I love them!!


  2. best of luck to mairead, what a handsome pair, thomas and potter, dogs are like miracle workers. i don’t think i can donate since i am here in the u.s.

    LOVE sweet peas too, so much, yours look so pretty. i have experimented with several varieties and have been very happy with an antique one, it’s blooms are much smaller than the seeds widely available here now, but the fragrance and colors are brilliant!


  3. Kudos to Mairead…I would contribute to her cause,which is near and dear to my heart,but I am in the US.Both of my grandsons,who live with me,are on the autism spectrum and one of the most beneficial things for them are our pets,specifically our two dogs.They are just family pets,because the expense of training a service dog in the US is out of this world.Thank you to your friend for her efforts on behalf of the autism community.And your sweetpeas are beautiful! They were always my favorite flowers in my mother’s garden while I was growing up…


  4. Your piece on sweet peas reminded me of my friend, Helen Dyson, who had a beautiful sweet pea created in memory of her dear friend who died of MND a while back. She’s incorporated a photo of the delicate mauve and white sweet pea on one of her greetings cards (she runs a card etc business). It’s another example of how special flowers can be.


  5. Hello Kate ,
    Thank you for the story about Mairead and her son. We are in the same possition and I know what an impact it has for all of us and not that much understanding from other people. Our son is 10 years old and has a hard time. A dog would be so helpfull ! But it can’t be any dog…
    I will read more about Mairead …thanks again..
    Bye Miriam.


  6. Mmmmm those sweat peas look lovely, bet they smell nice too. We always had flowers in jam jars and milk bottles when I was growing up….What an amazing charity, I love the picture of Potter and Thomas wearing their ties……


  7. Love the sweet peas!!! I always grew them when we lived in the UK but sadly the SA climate doesn’t agree with them …. Wish I could join you on August 3rd. My son is autistic too so I know how important the service dogs are! Good luck! xxx


  8. Your sweet peas are beautiful. I also planted some in the late spring and no flowers! I’m not sure what I did wrong as they grew vigorously at first; but seem not to want to bloom.


  9. Frost again this morning in Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand! and my sweet pea seedlings were killed by the first frost about six weeks ago – I was getting prepared for spring beauty, but stymied.
    Sweet peas are so delightful, I am sure you will enjoy yours. They need to be kept picked to keep producing.
    I don’t know that I am so charitable about the birds not getting some parts of your seedlings, pea sprouts are delicious to birds as well as humans, there were just a few that got away.
    Lovely charity, I hope it does well, if I were in Ireland I would contribute.


  10. In the village I live in there is a wonderful service dog to a wonderful child who has autism. This dog is a tracker and can track down the child if he runs. Since we are so remote this is vital to the well fare of this child. This service dog has change the life of this child and family. I hope they can raise the funds needed!


  11. I’m very envious of those sweet peas. For the first time ever I tried to grow some from seed this year, as I also think they are gorgeous. Not a single one even sprouted- nada! I shall have to content myself with looking at yours!


  12. How wonderful that you helped out Mairead. a I will foreward this to an Irish niece. Thank you
    Long live sweet peas!!!!!!!!!!!!


  13. Beautiful delicate sweet peas. Thank you for sharing your bouquets. Good luck to your friend and her fund raising efforts. Both her son and his service dog are handsome as can be.


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