Sweet peas have a special place in my memory.
The first seed I remember planting was a sweet pea.
I must have been six or seven years old. My family lived in a simple, 2 story white Victorian house, and I clearly remember having a packet of sweet pea seeds and planting them along the south-facing wall of the house. Right up next to the foundation.
I don’t remember who bought the seeds for me, but my best guess is that my dad did. I loved to go to the hardware store with him – back when hardware stores were small stores and locally owned – and I would wander the store looking at EVERYTHING while he picked up the things he needed.
One of the things I remember looking at often were flower seeds.
Most likely my dad bought those seeds for me, and most likely I chose sweet peas because I liked the picture on the packet. I didn’t really know anything about growing flowers all those years ago, and the picture was all the information I would have had when making my choice.
I remember pressing those seeds into the soil all by myself and waiting for them to grow. It’s a testament to the strength of a seed that some of them did grow! I didn’t understand planting depth, or the need to water regularly, or even how to choose the best location for planting. I had no trellis for them to grow on. I probably planted them in summer, not spring.
But some of them sprouted, and grew, and flowered.
They were just as beautiful as the picture, and oh, the scent! I was in love. I treasured each and every one of those sweet pea flowers that year.
I grew sweet peas again this year, for the first time in decades. I know so much more about growing flowers, but some things were still less than ideal. I planted them “too late.”
They grew anyway.
My young German Shepherd, Ivy, dug them up, and I replanted them (even “later”, right?)
They grew again.
And then they started to bloom, and those flowers and that scent transported me back. Every handful of sweet peas was pure happiness.
This year’s patch of sweet peas has bloomed for far longer than I ever would have guessed. Through early heat waves, high temperatures, and less-than-ideal conditions. They produced bouquets of flowers for several months and are just now starting to fade. Each flower was like a precious memory.
Next year I’ll have sweet peas growing at the farm for you to enjoy. What memories will they bring back for you?