Grow, sweetpeas, grow!

Here’s a pic for my NZ Gardener colleague in the deep south, Robert Guyton. Robert’s one of those clever and crafty gardeners who can turn anything into something else, like using last year’s flax flowers to make this year’s bean frame.

Inspired by the flax flower tepees in Robert’s Riverton plot, I took my loppers for a stroll in our flax patch this afternoon and made my own eco-friendly, plastic-free climbing frame, strung together with natural twine. (I’m trying to make up for confessing my environmental sins… namely using disposable nappies… in a recent Sunday magazine column.)

It looks cool, even if I do say so myself. (My husband’s response was, “Are you turning all Sally-Ridge-crafty on me?” He must be reading the NZ Woman’s Weekly somewhere on the sly!)

The ring of dark soil around the base of the tepee is seed-raising mix. I sowed most of a packet of ‘Patricia Ann‘ sweet peas around it today. This mix, bred by Dr Keith Hammett, has old-fashioned, streaky patterned petals in shades of pink, purple, cream and apricot. According to the seed packet I should have sown them in autumn (oh well, better late than never). And here’s something else I learned by reading the packet: when you’re sowing sweet peas, “select seeds of all sizes, as seeds of darker coloured flowers are often small and shrivelled”. And there I was, only picking out the big seeds to sow…