Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sweet Pea

April flower of the month: Sweet Peas

photo from morguefile.com

Every late spring when I was a kid,
my mom would let me pick out a packet of flower seeds to plant.
One year I planted sweet peas at an old gate post 
near the path through our hollyhock garden.
I loved the sweet peas so much, I later named one of my pet dogs Sweet Pea.
The sweet pea vine had pink blossoms and white ones
and climbed up the old post.
The blossoms had such a lovely, delicate scent.

photo copied from en.wikipedia.org

One of the worst things about flower hybrids is they have lost
their delicious perfumes, and today's sweet pea is no exception.
According to many accounts, the scent of today's sweet pea
pales in comparison to the old heirloom vines.
It makes me nostalgic for the old sweet peas
 that twined around fences and trellises in the old days.

Alice M. Coats, in her book Flowers and their Histories
says that the sweet pea was originally a Sicilian wild flower
and that by the Edwardian period in England, its cultivation was well established.
Coats says that sweet peas were a favorite of Queen Alexandra 
and that when the flower was in season,
"no dinner-table, no wedding, no buttonhole was complete without it."

She also says that Revered W.T. Hutchins described 
the sweet pea as "a sweet prophecy of welcome."
That's a lovely sentiment, one befitting a special spring flower.
Sounds like sweet peas were a good choice for an old gate post.

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