Sweet peas variety ready for the Royal Wedding

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WITH Easter behind us the gardening year always accelerates with so much to do in the gardens. To celebrate the Royal Wedding on Friday we have just planted out our Sweet Peas making a point of introducing Lathyrus odoratus ‘Royal Wedding’.

It’s an elegant sweet pea that has a delicate scent, it will look super when allowed to scramble through the pyramids in the Cut Flower garden and is sure to attract bees and other beneficial insects.

Unlike so many of our bright sweet pea varieties the Royal Wedding has creamy white flowers that produces open clusters on long stems throughout the summer.

I recently learnt that Sweet Peas were brought to Britain in the late 17th century by a Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani, who was writing a Flora of Sicily, he gave the seeds to various collectors in 1699.

Gradually through seedsman and nursery growers here in Britain they were cultivated throughout the centuries and today we are now spoilt for choice, with such a vast selection of colour combinations, textures and heights, all giving pleasure and structure to any garden.

They always look and smell wonderful as cut flowers in ones home.From the original sweet pea seed stock Cupani and Painted Lady still remain the most highly scented varieties that are grown today.

The castle garden team have been busy pricking out our summer bedding, which include Salvia horminum (Clary), which will give a wonderful contrast of blues with our lavender in the parterre beds by the stunning Victorian Glass House. A few of our other summer bedding includes Cleomes and Cosmos – Sonata and Antiquity.

This is a good time to prepare runner bean supports and frames, we have used all natural materials from our woods, which includes Hazel and Old Mans Beard producing which means you can produce your own works of art, ours are in the organic kitchen garden.

In the countryside I have noticed the wonderful Bluebells are out so do visit one sooner than later as the hot weather has brought them out early.

They are a magnificent site as they carpet the ground through the dappled light of the trees above.

A few tips from the castle garden team for May:

Prepare runner bean supports and frame works, we use all natural materials from our woods, which include Hazel and Old Mans Baird producing your own works of art as seen in our organic kitchen garden.

Keep hoeing off those weeds.

Continue to monitor frost warnings.

Harden off plants before planting out.

Sow outdoors: Beans and Sweet Corn every two weeks until June to extend your harvest period.

Directly sow outdoors beetroot, autumn cabbage, carrots, autumn and winter cauliflowers, courgettes, French Beans, Peas, runner Beans and Swiss Chard.

Happy Gardening!

For further information on the castle, garden tours, opening times visit our website at www.arundelcastle.org