In a Vase on Monday: Sweet

I have not allowed myself to sway from the original intention of using purely sweet peas in today’s vase: after all, they deserve it, brightening the greenhouse where they are grown and filling it with a sublime fragrance. For those who have not come across them before they are an early flowering variety called Winter Sunshine, bred to flower under cover (in the UK) at lower light levels and cooler temperatures, and mine have been flowering for a month or so. My outdoor sweetpeas, sown inside at the end of January, are also doing well, forming nice sturdy plants around 18″ (45cms) tall.

As Owls Acre, where the seeds were purchased from, do not sell mixed packs of seed, I buy a number of different colourways and mix them together – probably seven different shades in total but not all flowering yet.

To keep the focus purely on the sweet peas there is no additional material, and the blooms were placed in a plain and simple vase, another of my numerous Caithness Glass collection, this time in the ‘moss’ colourway. To complete the title, the prop is a reproduction metal advertising sign, promoting pea seeds, which has been adorning my kitchen for over 20 years.

As a bonus there is a second vase this week, a vase (another Caithness Glass one!) of gorse* blooms. I often see gorse on my local walks and consider picking it to add to a vase, but the usual spots are on the other side of ditches and not worth the risk of reaching over. Today there was a bush right next to the path so I picked a handful, a little disappointed that their fragrance was not as pronounced as it was reputed to be. I had always intended, when I did manage to pick some, to weave a post around kissing, kissing being in season when gorse was in bloom, but as this is the secondary vase we will all have to forgo that pleasure…

Have you got a vase to share with the IAVOM blogging community today, filled with material from your garden or foraged locally (mind those ditches)? If so, please leave the usual links to and from this post so we can find it.

*in hindsight I realised it was actually broom rather than gorse, which shows how long it is since I had a close encounter with a gorse bush! And I had forgotten that broom grows wild too…

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41 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Sweet

  1. I adore sweet peas, and these are glorious…

  2. Chloris says:

    Beautiful. What a good idea to grow sweetpeas in the greenhouse. You get early blooms and a deliciously fragrant greenhouse. I have Moraea spathulata in the greenhouse at the moment, it looks like a yellow iris on stilts but the scent is gorgeous. You probably wouldn’t notice it outside. I lovve the scent of gorse, it smells of coconuts. I can’t imagine what props you’d use for kissing time, but you’d probably come up with something as you are endlessly inventive.

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm, much as I love coconut (although not in toiletries – who wants to smell like a coconut?!!) I can’t say that I can conjure up the slightest coconut fragrance…perhaps it’s a certain stage in the blooming process when the fragrance is strongest? I have looked up your iris on stilts, and it is an intriguing thing (but yellow πŸ˜‰) – and somehow doesn’t look as if it should have fragrance. What a treat to have it in your g/h though. I didn’t have any kissing props in mind, but as you say I am sure I could come up with something when the need arises…

  3. I love both of your vases (flowers and vases alike!). When you grow the sweet peas, to you just sow the different colours willy nilly, or keep them separate so that there’s a defined rainbow of colour? I have a similar colour palette today, but from much larger plants!

  4. pbmgarden says:

    How I wish I could smell this lovelies! They’re beautiful the way you’ve presented them against the sign. The secondary vase is gorgeous too, just the right proportions and looking cheerful. In my sheltered life I don’t recall before hearing the word “colourways”. It’s charmingly appropriate to describe your sweet peas.

    In A Vase On Monday – Racemes And Tendrils

    • Cathy says:

      I wish you could too… 😊 You made me stop and think about my use of ‘colourway’ and yes, I would use it for all sorts of things where there was more than one colour in a range. I wonder if it is a peculiarly British term?

  5. I really love the glass vases and want to find Winter Sunshine. Wish I could catch the scent over the internet, I like mixed colors as well. Maybe Winter Sunshine would work here in winter – probably in a pot. Gorse? another pretty plant with a strange name. Thanks for hosting.

    • Cathy says:

      Seeds are available from but whether they will send to the USA or have an outlet there I have no idea. I am fairly sure they suggest they can grow in the coolest part of the year in hotter places, so do check out their website. I did try the WS in pots in the g/h one year but they didn’t do as well. Gorse is similar to broom, and a member of the pea family – although I have just Googled it and think what I picked might actually be broom and not gorse…😁

      • I found some here, in Vermont! A sweet pea and floral seed supplier. I should go ahead and order them, I waited til summer last year and they were mostly gone. I will read about it on owlsacre to see if I can do something else. I am told SP can be grown all winter here, though I have never seen any! The Gorse does look like what we would call Scotch Broom here.

        • Cathy says:

          Good luck with the sweet peas. And I have updated the post as it was definitely broom rather than gorse – wonder what the Scottish connection is?

  6. Pingback: In a Vase on a Monday: The scent of my childhood – Annettes Garten / Annette's Garden

  7. Annette says:

    A gift indeed to have sweet peas so early. They look fab and smell heavenly no doubt. Do you and the Golfer fall for the same scents? I wonder if male noses work differently? Summer flowering sweet peas are a no-go here as it’s too hot but an early variety may be worth a try. We’re surrounded by masses of sweet smelling gorse right now which is uplifting. Here’s my humble little vase: Have a good week x

    • Cathy says:

      I suspect the Golfer has not notices the sweet peas but I will ask him. When the 3 year old Tinker is here o Grannie Days and comes round the garden with me she sniffs at all the blooms , but will soon realise that not all of them smell. She is certainly showing an interest, which I am really happy about. I think Christina gave the WS sweet peas a try, but I can’t remember what the outcome was

  8. the running wave says:

    What a treat your lovely sweet peas are on a cold and wet Monday Cathy! Who would think we are not far off mid-summer’s day when it is as cold as this. Your sweet peas are the perfect antidote and hooray for the variety that can be grown in the greenhouse and be so lovely now! I love gorse too, and particularly its delicious spicy coconutty smell which wafts around on a warm day! I have a fragrant offering today too! Have a good week. Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      Indeed they are, and they will continue flowering into July when I will remove them to make way for the tomatoes, by which time the outdoor ones should be doing their stuff. I am thinking now that my ‘gorse’ is actually broom – when I picked it I was surprised that there were no thorns which I thought I remembered from childhood dens in gorse bushes on Blackford Hill…

      • the running wave says:

        I did think you were particularly brave to be picking gorse without wearing a suit of armour! Broom is lovely too. A rather acrid scent I always think, but we had some in our garden when I was a child and I always enjoy seeing it! I love the pop when the seeds explode! A

        • Cathy says:

          Exploding broom seeds are not something I have experienced yet – but I hope I will at some time or other!

  9. Kris P says:

    I love sweet peas. I also assembled my own collection from individually packaged seeds this year and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with a mix. I’ve been cutting flowers every few days, some for arrangements, some to grace my kitchen or my office, and some for friends of acquaintances. I’ll miss them when they’re gone, which almost certainly will be within a couple of weeks as summer here can’t be put off indefinitely. As to gorse, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it before and had to look it – as well as its association with kissing – up. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      You can usually find gorse in bloom at any time of the year somewhere or other, so the saying implies that kissing is always in season too, which it is! As I cut the sweet peas I was remembering last year when we were still in full lockdown, as normally I would be giving sweet pea posies to whoever I was seeing during the week. Not that we areall back to normal here this year, but more things are starting up again

  10. Anna says:

    Oh such an attractive confection of attractive colours Cathy and I’m sure that the scent is intoxicating πŸ˜‚ I will be waiting a while longer for mine to flower. The gorse flowers are rather appealing too but images of himself slipping and landing in the middle of a gorse bush come to mind 😱 It hurt! My vase is here :

    • Cathy says:

      Oops – I tried not to smile at the thought of Himself being entangled with a gorse bush. I wonder which came off the worst…? The sweet peas are just beginning to bloom enthusiastically after building up from the first flower a month ago

  11. Noelle M says:

    Those sweet peas are so pretty, and in a perfect vase. All I can say is that I once heard something about Kissing is never out of fashion so long as the Gorse is in Bloom. I agree with you about the perfume that comes off a good clump of Gorse is delicious; to me it smells of ripe pineapples.

  12. tonytomeo says:

    Those simple solid colors are my favorite. My niece can distinguish between the fragrances of some of the varieties, so ‘April in Paris’ is her favorite for fragrance, even if the swirly blushed white is not so vibrant in color. Some people prefer those subdued colors anyway.

    • Cathy says:

      The gentleman who lives near my Mum who gave me some dahlia cuttings told me that ‘April in Paris’ was his favourite, so it must have a really distinctive fragrance. The seeds he had grown that year however were bright pink and clearly mislabelled, much to his dosappointment – but I rather liked them! though…

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, those who are more familiar with the varieties of sweet pea are fond of it. My niece grew a few, with April in Paris added just for the fragrance, while others provided the brighter colors.

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  14. Cathy says:

    It is always lovely to see sweet peas in a vase as I don’t grow them myself. How brave of you to pick the gorse! I remember it as rather prickly from countryside rambles on the Norfolk coast as a child. Broom is a softer alternative and smells gorgeous too. I can only imagine the smell of your sweet peas though. Here is my vase. Better late than never. πŸ˜‰ Thanks Cathy, and have a great week!

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    I can just imagine how lovely their scent is!

  16. smallsunnygarden says:

    I love the way your vase showcases the beauty of the sweet peas all by themselves. I am using my best imaginative skills to conjure up the scent…
    The gorse makes a lovely bright vase, and I’m glad it didn’t “ambush” you as I seem to remember it did to Winnie-the-Pooh!
    Last week I couldn’t post as my internet connection was down, but I did manage a vase this week despite a lot of last-minute rush! I’m sure you can guess some of the contents from my title πŸ˜‰ :

    • Cathy says:

      I realised belatedly it was broom and not gorse and have updated the post – but thanks so much for reminding me about the W the P connection as that is definitely something to remember if I do have a vase with the real article in the future!! I always remember your roses, Amy (Wollerton Old Hall and the ‘silver’ one…), but don’t expect you brought any of them with you…

      • smallsunnygarden says:

        The only rose I brought with me had never actually flowered in Arizona. It was the antique Common Moss, which I’d ordered as a three inch band. I’ve found it a bit hard to source, so I didn’t want to have to start all over! It was just ready to bloom for the first time, but it also had already suckered into a biggish shrub (it was own root). I pulled a bunch of the suckers and potted them. They are still in their pot and are going back with me… X) Other than that I think I’m only taking the irises though a few spring-flowering bulbs might come along also. I will have to order another Wollerton Old Hall once I have a spot to put it in–can’t be without that one! Thankfully David Austin makes it easy to order them by mail.

        • Cathy says:

          What on earth is a three inch band?!! I hope the new Plant Passports don’t make ordering from David Austin harder

  17. Lol, we were walking a lot in Dorset last week, over gorse covered heaths and I kept sniffing the flowers to check the scent. It wasn’t strong there either. Maybe it’s the weather and they need sun-baked heat to release their delicious perfume. The sweet peas are beautiful, deliciously perfumed, early and not prickly. Winner!

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