It was evil Auntie Switch Blade Higgledy who put me on to Sweet Pea ‘Charlie’s Angels’…she said the frilly, powder blue blooms tickled her evil gland delightfully. Not having an evil gland myself, I can’t comment…but having grown ‘Charlie’s Angels’ for a few years I must say they become very moreish to the senses.
The flowers are tremendously reliable..I have three plants growing this season and I have a good jam jar sized harvest every few days…all from spring sown seeds.
They have a good scent…not as knockout as ‘Painted Lady‘ or ‘Perfume Delight’ but still fantastic…and the stems are the longest of all my Sweet Peas this year which I know is vital to you commercial growing types.
Sweet pea Charlie’s Angels was chosen by BBC Gardeners World magazine (July 2011) as the best ever sweet pea…this of course is very subjective…personally I think Auntie Switch Blade had got to the editor. (My own favorite (which changes every year) is ‘Winston Churchill)
‘this exceptional variety blooms for a long period and has superb perfume making it good for garden display, cut blooms or showing. ‘Charlie’s Angel’ Gardener’s World.
Sweet Pea ‘Charlie’s Angels’ has the RHS Medal of Distinction…teacher’s pet….
Orlaya Grandiflora is a cousin of the wonderfully usefulAmmi Majus, a mysterious, sophisticated and saucy cousin…the kind of girl a chap would like to meet out on the balcony during a ball at a Russian palace.
She is a most distinctive annual with pure white umbels which seem to hover over a delicate and much divided fern like foliage. A very soothing addition to the garden or cut flower patch. You can’t have too much of Orlaya.
How To Grow Orlaya From Seed
Being a hardy annual you can make an Autumn sowing which will give you stronger plants earlier the following year or you can sow in the spring and thou shalt have it flowering until the frosts. I do both…I’m greedy and I don’t care who knows it.
Orlaya Grandiflora may well be lovely but she is also a bit of a handful… Her temperamentality starts at birth. Germinating the seeds can be erratic but there will always be successes…you’ve got to roll with the punches.
If you wish to sow in Autumn I suggest you sow it in pots and keep them in a cold frame or green house over winter. They need to grow a good root ball to survive. As your green house shouldn’t be too full during the winter you can afford to use largeish pots. I use six inch pots.
In the early spring, harden them off and plant them outside to a spacing of about a foot and a half. My Aunt Betsy said you should think nice thoughts when you plant them as they grow prettier flowers but then Aunt Betsy spent the last twelve months of her life thinking she was a unicorn and telling me the moon was making her hooves itch.
The plant in the photograph has been grown in a builder’s bucket (with holes put in)…I sowed the seeds in early April and kept the bucket in the greenhouse until after germination.
Orlaya seeds need to be sown on the surface as they need light to germinate.
PS Don’t forget you can be sowing your biennials in June and July
I have been sent far too many photos to get them all in…so I will start to run two picture shows per week throughout the growing season. Please keep them coming…I’m particularly keen to see how your flower patches look….not just your arrangements…happy Solstice!
Many many thanks for sending me your pics. Please keep them coming…either to my Twitter feed….or my Facebook feed.
…last year was my first time at the Port Eliot festival…WHAT an event…a truly family friendly festy of creative delights…
It is a wonderful opportunity for me to showcase a Higgledy cut flower garden….in fact I simply provide the seeds and Catherine St Germans and Mike Le Jardin work their magic. They have done an amazing job and the garden is going to look even better than it did last year.
Those of you that are going to the festival….come and find the Higgledy Garden tent…it is in the walled garden…say the password ‘Furface Fandango’ and we will furnish you with a free packet of seeds…I have 500 packets to give away.