June 22, 2017

Old Spice

Credit: vinceconnare (flickr.com) | Wikimedia Commons - Lathyrus odoratus 'Painted Lady'

Credit: vinceconnare (flickr.com) | Wikimedia Commons - Lathyrus odoratus 'Painted Lady'

Nothing is quite as sweet as a bouquet of Lathyrus odoratus. With its origins in the temperate Italian countryside, the sweet pea is an easy annual to grow from seed, doing well in Maine’s cooler temperatures. ‘Painted Lady’ is a particularly nice variety, dating back to the early 1700s from the Sicilian garden of a Franciscan monk, Francis Cupani. It was the first bicolor sweet pea and also strongly scented, a characteristic that has been lost in some newer cultivars. Sweet peas were grown across Europe in the 1700s and became popular in American gardens in the 1800s.

Tip: Soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours before planting. It will help them sprout through that hard outer coating.