In the language of flowers, sweet pea blooms symbolize fond farewells, and this April birth flower is frequently used to say thank you. If you want to learn how to grow flowers from seed, sweet peas are a good choice for beginners. The large seeds are easy to handle and most varieties germinate quickly. They're cold-hardy, and in addition, the blooms are sweetly scented. Daisies are also easy to grow from either seeds or starter plants.

Sweet peas

garden of sweet peas and daisies

They've inspired poetry

Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths, they smelt so good.
Then, with strange enchanted eyes,
I saw them change to butterflies.

Higher than the skylark sings
I saw their fluttering crimson wings
Leave their garden-trellis bare
And fly into the upper air.

Standing in an elfin trance
Through the clouds I saw them glance….
Then I stretched my hands up high
And touched them in the distant sky.

At once the coloured wing came back
From wandering in the zodiac.
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths. They smelt so good.

~Alfred Noyes

multi colored sweet peas

Select a wide variety of seeds or plants

Sweet peas come in an large array of colors and patterns. Most are climbers that will grow 5 to 6 feet tall, but there are also bush varieties. In order to extend their blooming season, plant several different types. Although most sweet peas are annuals, Lathyrus latifolius is a perennial.

tall sweet pea plants

Sweet peas are either long-day, short-day, or neutral-day. Long-day plants begin producing buds when days are longer than nights, blooming between spring and summer. They're frequently referred to as spring-flowering or summer-flowering sweet peas. Check the back of the seed packet for planting instructions for your zone.

Prepare the seeds before planting

Whether planting outside or inside, you will need to scarify the seeds before planting. To do this, nick the seed coatings with nail clippers or sandpaper or soak them in water overnight.

If you start the seeds indoors, use biodegradable pots such as peat pots. The seedlings don't like to have their roots disturbed, so you will have the best success using a pot that can be put into the ground along with the transplants.

giant sweet pea blossom

Provide support

Plant the vines 6" apart in a sunny location. Protect them from direct afternoon sun. Unless you've chosen a bush variety, your plants will need strings or a trellis. Sweet peas use their tendrils to grasp anything that's 1/4" diameter or smaller. Larger diameters won't work. The best support is string.

Daisies

blue daisies

Dasies belong to the Asteraceae family. With over 1,500 genera and 23,000 species, it's the largest family of flowering plants. They share this family with sunflowers, chrysanthemums, and lettuce. Blooms of the daisy family have a single flower head composed of many tiny flowers (florets) surrounded by rays of longer petals.

Because they have two flowers making up one bloom, the Asteraceae family is commonly called Compositae, or the composite family. Bellis perennis is the common European species of daisy often considered to be the standard.

crown of daisies

(Make a daisy chain)

large white daisy

(photo mine)

Many related plants also share the same name. In order to distinguish this species from other daisies, it's sometimes called common daisy, lawn daisy, or English daisy. Historically, it has also been known as bruisewort and woundwort.

large yellow daisy

Symbolism

Stemming from an old Celtic legend, daisies symbolize innocence and purity. According to legend, when an infant died, God sprinkled daisies over the earth to cheer the parents.

In Norse mythology, the daisy is the sacred flower of Freya, goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. As such, the daisy came to symbolize childbirth, motherhood, and new beginnings and is sometimes given to new mothers.

The flower also symbolizes chastity and transformation. In the Roman myth of Vertumnus and Belide, Vertumnus, god of seasons and gardens, became enamored with the nymph Belides. To escape his constant pursuit, she turned herself into a daisy.

daisies growing in a container
(photo mine)

They're edible

Although often considered a weed, the small flower buds and petals of daisies can be eaten in sandwiches and salads. The buds, petals and leaves are edible raw and can be made into a tea. The flowers are decorative but sometimes slightly bitter. Buds can be pickled and used like capers. Daisies are also used in soups and as a pot herb.

The parts of the daisy plant that grow above the ground are used for medicinal teas to treat coughs, bronchitis, disorders of the liver and kidneys, and swelling. Wild daisies are sometimes applied to wounds.

yellow daisy with a bee