Sweet Memories

My hubby’s favourite vegetables are green peas. He calls them the Vegetables of Heaven. I like them well enough, and serve them regularly, along with snow peas, and sugar or snap peas, but I far prefer Sweet Peas… ‘though not to eat, of course.

The wonderful sweet scent of heritage Sweet Peas brings back memories of my childhood… plucking the long stems from six foot high plants that scaled netting stapled to the back fence.  Sly curling tentacles clung to the netting and each other, reluctant to release their grip, and too often a petal would break off as my clumsy young fingers pulled them away. They were my mother’s favourite flower… at least, that’s what she once told me. She liked lots of different flowers, but didn’t attempt to grow many. She wasn’t a gardener at heart.

My grandmother was the gardener.  The scent I most associate with my grandmother is the white Nicotiana alata that grew in a planter next to her front door. I remember it giving off a heady sweet fragrance, especially in the early evenings as the grownups sat chatting on the lawn after dinner and my cousins and I played tag around their chairs.

But the Sweet Peas’ fragrance is gentle, its blooms fragile… velvety soft petals in pastel shades intermingled on the vines with others of more vibrant hues.  Although not the varieties we know today, Sweet Peas have been around for more than three hundred years, which may be why there’s an old-fashioned aura to them.  A monk discovered an early variety growing wild on the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean in the mid-1600s.

I usually don’t plant mine early enough and summer catches them before they’ve developed well enough to withstand the heat. This year I planted a four foot ‘Knee High’ variety in a pot on the deck, and popped a clear plastic garbage bag over it every night for weeks to act as a greenhouse. The plants are over five feet now, and they’ve just begun to bloom. These photos are of the first three blossoms.

My heart is smiling.


Do you have a favourite flower, and are there particular flowers that convey special memories to you?

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

4 thoughts on “Sweet Memories

  1. Peonies leave me breathless and in awe. I’m not sure why. I grew up on the coast and my mother did garden. Our yard was like a park. I think back and always feel especially peaceful. Maybe that’s why.

    Peas, not so much.

  2. Carol, this is the second post today that has brought me back to my summer memories with my family. Odd though it might sound, our branch of the family did not live in the country, but in Brooklyn. But I helped my parents “put up” fruits and vegies in mason jars.

    But the memory of flowers will always remind me of my mother gathering pumpkin flowers and how delicious they are when dipped in batter and fried. My friends in school never understood how I could love to eat flowers … ah … they didn’t know what they were missing 🙂

    Each season brings back another memory of my mother and her great love of gardening and the many hours she spent tending and gathering her flowers 🙂

  3. The first daffodils of spring always remind me of my parents. My father always bought a bouquet for my mother when they appeared in the grocery stores in the spring.

    My particular favorite is daisies.

  4. I love this post, especially, “my grandmother was the gardener”……Mine was too….she was the most proud of the peace roses in her “rose garden”……wonderful memories. Thanks for this brief walk back……….

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