Sweet pea success

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The Independent Online
CUTTINGS I sowed my first flower seeds this week - sweet peas. Last year I experimented with autumn sowing, keeping the seedlings in the cold frame through the winter. The mouse damage outweighed any advantages to be gained by way of earlier plants. I had to sow again in spring.

The dwarf strain `Fantasia' (Mr Fothergill, £1.25) did well. I can see it making a very pretty dwarf edging woven through foot-high supports. The colours are mixed: red, pink and purple. For vigour, `Bouquet Mid Blue' (Suttons, £1.09) was by far the bestof last year's sweet peas, although more mauve than blue. For richness of colour `Her Majesty' (Unwins £2.25) took the crown. It is a fairly dense ruby, and quite well scented. Germination of all three varieties was good. It was the next bit that did not go so well. This year I am sowing `Her Majesty' again, together with `Candy' (Unwins £1.65) a silvery grey picotee, superbly scented and a new variety `Rosanna Alice' (Unwins £1.95), which is whitish with charmingly frilled flowers.