Best-selling sweet peas from Mr. Fothergill’s

The smell of success for top blooms

Sweet pea Hi-Scent
Sweet pea Hi-Scent – terrific perfume

Strong scent is what gardeners value most in sweet peas it seems, after Mr. Fothergill’s published its top 10 best-selling sweet peas of 2016, with the top three varieties rated 5/5 for perfume.

More surprisingly, two of the top three are old favourites more than 275 years old. Heading the list, however, is the modern

Heading the list, however, is the modern¬†Hi Scent, a white, mauve-edged ‘New Zealander’, while in second place was the pink and white bicolor Painted Lady, which dates from 1731.

Third place is my favourite,¬†Cupani, a maroon and violet bicolor, regarded as the ‘original’ sweet pea, having been first grown in Britain in 1699. The remaining places were:

  • 4th Spanish Dancer, a veined picotee in cream and pink 3/5
  • 5th Arthur Hellyer, lavender 4/5
  • 6th Blue Velvet, dark blue 3/5
  • 7th Emilia Fox, a larger flowered Cupani-type 3/5
  • 8th Percy Thrower, lavender 5/5
  • 9th Mumsie, crimson 3/5
  • 10th Pandemonium, red flake 4/5

Technical manager and sweet pea expert Alison Mulvaney said: “We often hear that modern sweet peas have lost their scent, which is simply untrue.

“For example, Hi Scent is a relative newcomer, while we introduced Spanish Dancer, Emilia Fox, and Pandemonium all in this decade.”

Mr. Fothergill’s wide range of sweet pea seeds is available from garden centres and other retailers, and from its 2017 seed catalogue. To request a copy, go online at, telephone 0845 371 0518 or write to Mr. Fothergill’s, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Suffolk CB8 7QB.

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