I’ve written a piece for the Daily Telegraph on why sweet pea seed should be sown in the autumn, and how to go about it. And I’ve added my selection of some of the most interesting new sweet pea varieties which are available this autumn for the first time.
But there is only room for a selection, so here are all the season’s new sweet peas that I’ve come across so far.
Large, frilly, very well scented lavender flowers on strong stems. Raised by the Bobby Chisholm and awarded a First Class Certificate by the Scottish National Sweet Pea Society. Available from Kerton Sweet Peas.
Standards blush pink with a lemon tint, fading paler blush. Wings white. Developed by Roger Parsons. Available from Roger Parsons.
Mixture of modern Grandiflora types in pink and mauve shades developed by Keith Hammett. Available from Unwins.
‘Cherub Northern Lights’
Strongly scented dwarf type in white with a red flash on the standards and blue on the wings. Developed by Mark Rowland. Available from Owl's Acre Sweet Peas.
Well scented mix of modern Grandiflora types in red, white and blue. Available from Suttons.
Maroon and violet bicolour dwarf type, opening at least two weeks earlier than other dwarf sweet peas. Developed by Mark Rowland. Available from Owl's Acre Sweet Peas.
Pink picotee Spencer developed by Andrew Beane, named for the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, patron of the National Sweet Pea Society. Available from Myers Sweet Peas.
‘Earl Grey’ (left, click to enlarge)
Unique bicoloured flake type developed by Keith Hammett, white with red streaks on standards, blue streaks on the wings. Available from Roger Parsons.
Mixture of modern Grandiflora types in blue and purple shades developed by Keith Hammett. Available from Unwins.
‘Father and Daughter’
Mix of two heirloom Grandifloras: ‘Henry Eckford’ (salmon orange) and ‘Dorothy Eckford’ (pure white). Available from Mr Fothergill's.
Strongly scented Spencer mix in blues, bright purples, and pastel pinks including bicolours. Available from Suttons.
‘Just Janet’ (top, click to enlarge)
Soft salmon pink over a cream background. Named for the recently retired seed buyer at Unwins. Available from Unwins.
Dwarf, rich lavender. Recently received an RHS Award of Garden Merit. Available from Owl's Acre Sweet Peas.
Vivid, bright, slightly orange-tinted scarlet flowers. Available from Unwins.
‘More Scent’ (below)
Probably the sweet pea with the strongest scent, Keith Hammett’s mauve and white modern Grandiflora is even more strongly scented than his ‘High Scent’. Available from Somerset Sweet Peas.
Winter-flowering, semi-multiflora soft pink bicolour for commercial cut flower production. Another from Keith Hammett. Available from Roger Parsons.
‘Pip’s Cornish Cream’
A good cream Spencer, suitable for exhibition. A replacement for 'Jilly', which has deteriorated; developed by Roger Parsons Available from Roger Parsons.
Beautifully formed long stemmed rosy-pink blooms on a white ground are carried on long strong stems. Available from Unwins.
Bicoloured Spencer in deep purple and paler purple, originated with a Thompson & Morgan customer. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Sweetly scented rich crimson. Launched at the Chelsea Flower Show this year. Available from Matthewman's Sweet Peas.
Large, frilly, scarlet flowers on strong stems. Raised by the Bobby Chisholm and awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Scottish National Sweet Pea Society. Available from Kerton Sweet Peas.
‘Sir Henry Cecil’
Strongly scented flake type, with white flowers streaked in shades of red through to almost chocolate. Another from Keith Hammett. Available from Mr Fothergill's. More on ‘Sir Henry Cecil’ here.