October sown Sweet Peas
The early October sowing of sweet peas is coming along nicely. I’ve followed Sarah Ravens advice and sown 2 plants to a pot so that they develop a really strong root system. I’ve decided to experiment with pinching out some plants and leaving others. Sweet pea specialist Roger Parsons says side shoots will develop naturally and pinching out is unnecessary. On the other hand the plants that Sarah Raven sends out are the bushiest sweet pea plants I’ve ever seen and the sweet peas in her garden always look magnificent.
Sweet peas in Cold frame
I’m not always the world’s most efficient or organised gardener, but there are certain things that I always try to do. One of these is to sow my saved sweet pea seed in Roottrainers and deep pots in October. They have germinated well and are now in the coldframe where they should develop a good root system over winter, ready for pinching out in the spring to encourage bushy growth.
Petersham Nurseries in Richmond are running a ‘How to’ gardening workshop on Spring Staking. Set within the very beautiful, private garden of Petersham House; head gardener Lucy Boyd offers a practical demonstration on staking. A rare opportunity to step foot inside the gates of Petersham House garden and pick up the secrets of what makes its borders flourish throughout the growing season. A simple but invaluable technique, staking is a centuries old tradition. Much favoured by gardeners, it lends support to tall plants like sweet peas, hollyhocks and delphiniums and climbing vegetables including tomatoes, beans and peas. Within the 150″ long running double border of Petersham House garden, expert gardeners Lucy Boyd and Rosie Bines will demonstrate how to use coppiced hazel to stake a variety of garden plants and to create simple structures which will create stunning visual features.
Combining the practical with the creative, you will learn how to build nests out of pea sticks to support Oriental poppies; structures for sweet peas and bean pole wigwams for your beans to scramble up. They will also offer their own top tips on how best to hide visible supports – allowing the plants to take centre stage – and why it is preferable to use biodegradable twine.
This seasonal workshop aims to demonstrate how to create a beautiful mid-summer garden, bursting with colour and structure.
Petersham House is the private home of Petersham Nurseries’ owners, Frncesco & Gael Boglione. Ticket price: £65.00 includes tea/coffee on arrival, a light lunch of homemade soup & sandwiches after the workshop, plus a bundle of peasticks to take away. www.petershamnurseries.com
If you haven’t autumn sown your sweet peas you can play catch-up by ordering some sweet pea plants from Unwin’s, a company justly famous for breeding award-winning varieties for over 100 years. Choose from the Cutflower Collection, the Showbench Collection or the Super Fragrant Collection, each of 36 plants in 6 varieties for £10.95 or save money with their 25 Mixed Sweet Pea Plants for £7.45 or £6.95 for 2 packs or more. www.unwins.co.uk