Sweet peas are an annual delight at Forde Abbey and every year we set aside two weeks in July to celebrate their beauty and charm.
Up to eighty varieties of sweet peas will perfume the gardens this year, lining the pathways in the kitchen garden and bringing colour to the herbaceous borders throughout the Summer months. Before you visit, please listen to our update on this year’s
display on the blog.
Seeds are sown in early February in root trainers to promote strong and healthy growth and are sheltered from early frosts in the Victorian glass houses. We start the process of hardening them off in April, and although frosts persist well into May we usually plant them out in the gardens later in the month, applying a thick layer of mushroom compost before planting begins. To ensure bushy plants, we pluck them out at 4 leaves and plant each variety on homemade wigwams constructed from lengths of hazel found growing on the estate. In the first few months we apply a liquid feed high in potassium, and then water accordingly. We let nature take care of the rest.
Throughout the season, we pick as many as we can, selling posies of sweet peas in the gift shop as well as seed varieties we have grown this year. Annual favourites include; Monty Don, Earl Grey, Winston Churchill, Albutt Blue and Somerset Lady, although each year we aim to include some new varieties in the mix.
Do remember to bring a camera when you visit and you could be the winner of our annual photography competition. For more details, click here.