Flower Stories: Sweet Peas and the Flower Farmers Big Weekend

Sweet Pea flowers on the ground

Calling all flower lovers, this coming weekend it's the Flower Farmers Big Weekend. More on this later, but first here's something we learned about the sweet pea. It was at the weekend, whilst our beauty editor was looking after her Godmothers kitchen garden in the countryside. If you want to prolong the life of your sweet peas, pick, pick, pick! Daily if you need to and pick every stem you can see. That way you help stop the flower heads from going to seed, so encouraging more and more blooms to come.

This will help extend the joy of the summer sweet pea right through to early autumn. If you are a sweet pea expert, you'll already know this. You'll also know that it's best to tie in your sweet peas. To the uninitiated this means tying your sweet pea plant stems to their frame to encourage vertical growth and straighter stems. Helpful, when cutting for hand tied posies a short wiggly stem is tricky to work with.

Did you know that there are two basic types of sweet pea? There's the perennial version, which is cut back in autumn and then there's the annual sweet pea.  These are the most scented and are grown for picking. Sown yearly in the spring they are trained to grow up bamboo frames. In very dry weather they require plenty of watering to help stop them going to seed too fast. Of course, many of us don't have the space or time to grow sweet peas.

So, to enjoy these precious flowers in summer, it's down to finding flower farms and growers near you to buy from. Sweet peas are best in early summer as it can get too hot for them by August. But they are possible to find, especially this coming weekend.

 The weekend of Friday 16th August is Flower Farmers Big Weekend, where over 100 growers from the Flowers from the Farm cooperative will be opening their gates to visitors. It's the first of its kind, and there are events across the country. Find events in your area and snap up locally grown seasonal flowers picked on the day. It may take a little research to track them down, but Flowers From The Farm is an excellent website that helps you find a flower grower in your area. As we mentioned, the sweet pea season is slowing down, but give it a go. If your local flower grower no longer offers them, check out their other offerings. Dahlia season is in full swing and will continue right through to September.

5 Pick Your Own Flower Growers

  • Green and Gorgeous near Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Visit Saturdays 9 to 4pm, March to October and you can buy flowers directly from the farm gate.
  • The Cut Flower Farm Lymington, Hampshire. Sweet peas are earlier here, but there may be some still in stock.
  • Flowers from the garden Harrogate. Flower grower Elizabeth can pick bunches of sweet peas to order when in season. Get in touch and she will have them ready for you to collect.
  • Blooms from the Barn Suffolk. Sweet peas are available to buy in £25 posies direct from the barn.
  • Beechfield Flower Farm - Tobermore, Londonderry. Organic grown flowers on a family farm, growing sweet peas and dahlias at the height of summer.

Open by appointment. Didn't manage to find any sweet peas? Bring a touch of the English garden in summer into your bathroom with our Heathcote & Ivory Sweet Pea and Honeysuckle collection. The fragrance conjures the scented world of fresh sweet peas entwined with honeysuckle on a sun-drenched wall. With notes of romantic white jasmine and gardenia flowers, crushed leaves shimmering above water notes balanced with hints of musk. Browse our collection