Lots of Sweet Pea are grown in Fota every year. When the Frameyard is open to the public, some volunteers collect their flowers and make beautiful bunches of them. They don’t last long, as they are among the first items to be bought by our visitors. The scent reminds me of my Granny’s garden. It has the power to bring me right back to my early childhood.
I love its name in Irish: Pís Chumhra, the fragrant pea, which closely reflects the French Pois de Senteur and the Spanish Guisante de Olor.
Sweet Pea is a flowering plant of the genus Lathyrus, in the family Fabaceae, a native of Sicily, Southern Italy and the Aegean Islands. It is an annual climbing plant which grows to one or two metres where support is available.
The dwarf cultivars such as “Cupid” or “Little Sweetheart” form neat cushions of growth less than 1½” high with large scented spikes of white, pink or red, from June to September. The leaves are beautifully delicate; the flowers last for 2 to 3 days after they are picked. Various shapes of wigwam are made to support the plant to great effect.
Just today, in the Frameyard, some volunteers planted Sweet Pea seeds for sale next year, including Noel Sutton, Air Warden and Amethyst, among others.