My bountiful sweet peas are enjoying a bit of celebrity. They continue to grow taller, fuller, and more fragrant by the day, attracting comments from neighbors and friends. I had a chuckle the other day when my petite neighbor passed the house on the sidewalk, momentarily disappearing behind the tall vines. When she reemerged on the other side I smiled. Who knew that a garden overflowing with delicate and fragrant flowers could be so uplifting?
If I were still ten-years-old I would build a fort in the middle of the sweet peas. There would be a secret entrance and everything. As it is, I can no longer reach the center of the garden, where a few tall weeds are thumbing their nose at me.
Since returning from my travels, I’ve cut sweet peas for a friend’s birthday and as a thinking-of-you posy. Today I took small jars of flowers to my Pilates classmates. I’ve filled bottles and jars with the sweet blooms, accompanied by cornflowers and Nigella buds for a bit of greenery.
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, so a neighbor asked if she could cut some flowers for her son’s teacher. It’s wonderful sharing the bounty.
The original starter seeds were a gift from my friend Kelly. She thoughtfully included purple so that my sister Sharon could also enjoy them when she came for a visit. I’d never planted sweet peas before so I made a novice move and planted them in the spring. The plants fizzled, so Kelly and I surmised that they didn’t like the conditions in San Jose. Eventually we let the front lawn die off and replaced the area with native and drought tolerant plants.
As far as I can tell, the process of turning the soil in the fall, followed by a generous helping of rain awakened the seeds. They spread all over the garden, jumping the sidewalk and making a run for the street. It’s hard to convey the joy I get from this garden.
The sweet peas won’t last through the summer. One major heat wave will be their undoing. My Canadian friends can keep them going for the summer, but in semi-arid San Jose, the flowers wilt in the heat like me. Knowing this makes them all the more sweet.
The last two days have been insufferably hot in the Bay Area. We’re within three degrees of breaking a heat record for this time of year with 87 F (31C) predicted in San Jose. Fortunately the weather is cooling off by the weekend so we can sleep comfortably once again.
I hope this week’s heat won’t send my sweet peas packing. Last year’s crop lasted through June. I’m working hard at living in the moment, remaining mindful, while enjoying that subtle fragrance wafting through the evening air.