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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Princess and the Sweet Peas…

Sweet peas 2011

It’s sweet pea season again. The tomatoes have blight, the potatoes have wilted, the corn (no thanks to the jays) is just barely tickling my ankles on this second day of August. But the sweet peas bring it; they always have. It’s all about fragrance and sharing. Sudden smells? Sweet peas provide it. You’re puttering about in the garden on a warm afternoon and there’s a rush of olfactory stimulation that almost makes you dizzy. There’s no pea vine more worthy of cotton twine than sweet peas. You may plant corn. You may plant zucchini. Lettuce. Cucumbers. Tomatoes (I dare you). Beets. Carrots. Green beans. Cabbage ( this year’s sauerkraut, you know). All the backyard garden staples. But sweet peas…they are the aesthetic reward of the season.

One row of sweet peas will yield innumerable dainty bouquets, bouquets you need to share with special people. Of course you bring several bouquets into your home because you yourself are special people, aren’t you? I have my list of sweet pea recipients and make a point of delivering at least one bouquet a year to each. Share the fragrance; a little nosegay sweetness is always a welcome thing.

Last year the Ripple did a post about sweet peas (“A Sweet Pea Evening”). This year from just one row of the delicate flowers, there has been an abundance of bouquets and I have expanded my sweet pea clientele, or in some cases doubled their bouquets. My steady customers: Little Katie Cardinal, next door, Mrs. Larry at Courtesy Tire in town (two sweet bundles this year), the girls at Key Bank (two more bundles), Cindy next door, my environmentally-sensitive friend Nancy L picked a colorful bouquet. And the petite Phyllis Bickler of the Safeway deli has come away with two sweet pea bundles this summer. My wife has taken  a bouquet or two to her beauty shop in Snohomish. Weekend before last I transported a bouquet to my mom in Eastern Washington. With sweet peas--the more you pick, the more bouquets are available. Just that much more to fragrance to pass around.

This sweet pea season my list of recipients has grown. I shared a bouquet of our burgundy “bridal” flowers with Jennifer, the proprietor and chocolatier at “Sweet Indulgence.” Purple rainTwo years ago I ordered an array of dark sweetness delivered to my daughter’s bridal suite the night of her wedding. Although there was some confusion about the delivery date, the chocolates, amid sincere apologies, finally reached their destination. Apology accepted and reaffirmed last month with a regal bouquet of this year’s batch of burgundy wedding flowers. Come to think of it, that year I even took a bouquet of sweet pea fragrance to Marni at Monroe Floral, a special thanks for her help with our daughter’s wedding.

At this point in the season there are a slim few remaining bouquets. One I have reserved for the friendly lady who owns the jewelry store next to Safeway. She always greets me with a pleasant “hello” whenever we meet. Besides, I know she likes flowers because of the potted floral display she tends daily outside her shop.

One of the very first sweet pea bouquets I delivered was to the Jerald Streutker residence in the Valley. Since then I have made sure Tina Streutker receives at least one bouquet a summer. The Streukers no longer live in that tidy house on the corner. Their residence is in town now, Merrill Gardens senior living on Hospital Road. I delivered a bouquet there two weeks ago, and not wanting to drop by unannounced, left it at the receptionist’s desk. “She’ll know who it’s from, “I said.  Later that day there was a message on our answering machine, a “thank-you for the flowers” from Tina and an invitation to visit anytime.

Today, in keeping with tradition, I delivered a fresh bouquet to that same tidy house on the corner. Brett de Vries and Megan live there now. I rang the doorbell. Brett answered, invited me in. I said my errand was one of tradition, delivering sweet peas to the lady of the house, and handed the bunch to Megan, our Valley princess (England may have its Princess Kate, but our Valley has Megan). She posed for the Ripple in the photo below. And it’s up to you to decide which is sweeter—the bouquet of sweet peas or the one holding it?Sweet pea princess

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  1. nothing better than the smell of sweet peas, I agree...

  2. Yes, and I've wanted to share the fragrance with Mrs. Tunnell, put her on my sweet pea list; however, logistics haven't allowed so far. But, the vines are still in bloom....