Next to old fashioned garden roses, Sweet Peas are my all-time favorite flower. There is just something about them. You can’t look at them and not be happy. And their aroma – they smell like honey and roses and lemonade on the perfect summer afternoon.
They are cheerful, joyous, exuberant, old-fashioned, simple and simply beautiful. They aren’t trying to be something they are not…they just are.
I love the colors: an unending variety of shades of lavender, purple, pink, coral, peach, burgundy, cream, red…I’ve even seen celadon green. Sometimes there are two colors on the same flower – I like that – they know true beauty has varied dimensions.
When I was a kid living with my parents, I took over the dirt patch on the side of the house next to Mr. Walters’ home. Every fall I’d plant Sweet Pea seeds and weave twine in and out of Mr. Walters’ white picket fence that separated our side yards, in anticipation of the vines to come. Mr. Walters, who was well into his 80’s, would slowly meander out of his front door and greet me next to the fence as I was busy doing my ‘big farm project.’
“How are the Sweet Peas coming along this year, dear?” he’d ask me. And he’d try to bend down to my kid-size level, eager to take a peek inside my little world. He’d meet me at that rickety picket fence through fall, winter and then again in spring when the blooms would burst and we’d marvel at their beauty. Because it was so shady between the houses, I never got more than a few dozen blooms each year, but I’d always save a few for him.
Mr. Walters died a good 20 years ago. I really loved that sweet old guy. Even decades later, when I have a gorgeous vase of the blooms in my house, as I do today, I think of him. I think of how sweet he was to make his way out of his home to check on me, season after season, witnessing and encouraging me to plant, grow…and bloom.
Sometimes we just need to be witnessed and encouraged…nature, passion and an endless pursuit of all that is beautiful takes care of the rest.