Yesterday, at dusk, I heard the weather forecast. Cold night. I ran out into the gloom with my flower scissors and cut what I thought would be the last bunch of sweet peas for the year. The smell in my study this morning was overpowering.
A quick check in the garden shows that I was being unnecessarily gloomy; there are still many sweet peas worth picking, all of them this lovely variety with two names, Matucana, or Cupani's Original - a much better name as it hints at the history (it arrived in Britain from Sicily in the 17th century, sent by a monk named Cupani). This is the mother of all sweet peas, the first, the one with the strongest scent, the one with hints of all the colours that have been bred into a cultivated sweet pea. My favourite.
It can't last, we are past the equinox, and sweet peas respond to light. I've been picking them three or four times a week since the beginning of May. Although I grow other sweet peas, Cupani's original is my favourite - the strongest scent, the first to flower, the last to die back, with its beautiful maroon and purple flowers. How could all those nurserymen have thought they could improve on nature's own sweet pea?
PS the dahlia in the corner of this picture is a stunner, David Howard ... the photograph doesn't do it justice, I'll post a better one soon
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