I have been growing and trialing Sweet Peas annually since moving to California and plant about 40 varieties every year. Although there is a good selection of seed available from U.S. seed companies, I mail order my seed from England where much of the breeding currently occurs. I like to try new varieties but have several favorites that end up in the garden every year. Among these are ‘Just Julia’, a mid-blue; ‘Gwendoline’, a deep pink; ‘Judith Wilkinson’ with intense carmine red flowers; ‘Sir Jimmy Shand’ which is striped and edged with lilac; pink edged ‘Anniversary’; and ‘White Frills’ which is pure white.I usually sow my seed in late September to get an early start, but seed can be sown as late as February if you live near the coast. I like to start my seed in cell packs similar to the ones in which you buy annuals at garden centers, using a good potting soil. An alternative is to buy plants. The six varieties mentioned above, as well as fourteen other varieties are available as plants, custom grown for Roger’s Gardens in 4” pots and are available through mid-March. I transplant the small plants into the garden after I have mixed a good soil amendment, such as Harvest Supreme, and an organic fertilizer into the soil. Well grown Sweet Peas can reach a height of six to eight feet and need good support on which they can climb by their tendrils. I have about seventy feet of chain link fence which is ideal. Others I grow in large pots and use seven or eight foot bamboo poles with their twiggy side branches, which I cut from my garden. A good alternative is tall tomato cages. There are dwarf varieties which need little or no support. I usually start cutting flowers of early varieties, such as the ‘Winter Sunshine’ or ‘Winter Elegance’ series in early January. Standard Spencer type Sweet Peas normally start blooming for me in early to mid-March. Both types normally continue to bloom until about early May in my Tustin garden, but will bloom into early summer if you live near the cooler coast. Be sure to cut Sweet Peas frequently so their fragrant flowers may be enjoyed inside the home. This also keeps them from going to seed which will extend the blooming season.