The sweet peas (see previous posts) have done well and last week most had reached the top of the canes. The autumn-sown plants were planted in March and were grown as cordons – restricted to a single stem – with the tendrils picked off the ends of the leaves*. The idea is that this will produce strong, long stems with good flower quality. It worked well and although a few plants didn’t grow that well – I think because the beds were made in a hurry, and some subsoil was brought to the surface when the beds were dug and the paths made, I am fairly happy with the results.
So now the next stage was reached, when the plants had to be taken down from the canes and layered.
The sweet peas were attached to the canes with ‘sweet pea rings’ – rings made with wire. These are quick to use but also remove compared to using twine. So I carefully took down about five plants and laid them on the ground at the end of the row. Then I took another plant down and laid it horizontally behind the canes and tied the shoot tip to a new cane. I repeated this with all 50 plants so the base of the stems lay on previously layered plants. It took a few hours but it means that the plants can continue to grow and bloom and hopefully continue to grow and bloom to the top of the canes for a second time.
* I have a feeling that removing the tendrils encourages bigger leaves but I may be wrong – but it does prevent the tendrils from grabbing the flower stems and bending them and makes it much easier to layer them later.