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  From my garden  -    Meg   Clay

I hope that you are enjoying the ‘extra’ time you have to get on top of your gardening jobs, including the ones that you usually put off! I enjoy growing sweet peas, so I thought I would share with you how mine are looking at the moment and how I go about growing them.

The plants in the photo were to be grown for exhibition and so are grown up canes in cordon style. The seeds were Autumn sown; I subsequently sowed more seeds at intervals for later flowers – that’s the theory anyway! They are ‘tied in’ as they climb up the canes. Plants for exhibition have their tendrils removed and the side-shoots taken out (as you do for tomatoes). This helps to encourage stronger plants and straighter stems.

The perennial problem is - how to obtain blooms with long stems? From my experience plants often start by producing blooms on long stems, but they tend to shorten as the season progresses. The old-fashioned varieties tend to have shorter stems; however, they do have the best scent. Still, if you are growing them as cut flowers or as garden decoration, the length of stem really doesn’t matter, they’re still beautiful, scented flowers.

I also grow sweet peas for cutting and decoration, these can be grown on wigwams of sticks, nets or supported by twigs for a more natural look. They are allowed to grow naturally, that is the tendrils and side-shoots don’t need to be removed, which of course means they are mostly self-supporting. Don’t forget your sweet peas will appreciate being planted in a well-prepared bed and also – water, water, water!

As you most likely will be aware our Bewdley Annual Show takes place every August. So here is your chance to have a go and enter your sweet peas. Also, why not share with other members what you have been doing in your gardens recently by sending your write-up as an email to and he will place it on the website.

 Christmas tip for using fruit that's pass its sell-by-date

I had some apples and oranges that were pass their sell-by-date so I decided to dry them and use them on my Christmas decorations.

Just slice them and lay them on some foil on the top of the radiator until they dry out.   Mine took about 4 days.  I`ll probable tread some garden wire through them to bunch them together and attach them to my Christmas wreath or hang in my kitchen.   I also dried a lemon off my own lemon tree.   Just hope I can keep my lemon tree through its first winter.

Diane Chater