Doubling Down

Sometimes plant hybridizers go for broke.  They’re going to do everything, the color, the size, the heat resistance, the double blooms.  In the mad race to twirl around those chromosomes faster than you can say Watson and Crick and select for the most spectacular hybrids, something gets spun off.

That something in the case of the Sweet Pea was scent.  For a large part of the twentieth century the Sweet Pea was a forgotten flower and when grown, it was grown for flower shows, primarily in the UK.

This was a minor tragedy of the commons.  None of the hybridizers meant to forego scent, but those flower showing gardeners wanted bigger and better blooms, basically the mid-century mantra had permeated the hybridizers’ plant growing world and on every day, in every way, the blossoms were getting better and better. Continue reading