They germinated quickly but grew slowly because it was such a chilly spring. Interesting to note that 'Ripple Mixed' were much the weakest of the plants I sowed - so weak that it was definitely something to do with the variety, not the conditions. They were all sown in pots or in root-trainers. The root-trainers were not worth the effort; the plants sown in groups in pots were much stronger. At the beginning of June I planted them out. Some are on tripods down in the garden and the others I planted in the terracotta containers we have up on our supper terrace. They are much easier to water there and there's shade from the worst of the sun.
We've had temperatures between 30-38 here since the middle of July (39 degrees today). I've watered the sweet peas in the garden - but probably not quite enough - and nothing was watered at the beginning of the dry, hot spell because we were away in England for five days from 11-15 July.
But I am dead chuffed - and I've learnt something into the bargain. You can carry on growing sweet peas in fierce heat, providing you offer them the tiniest bit of shade and lots of water (and the container sweet peas lasted for five days without!). Down in the garden we've noticed that the sweet peas (and mangetouts) that have a little protection from the sun are doing 'ok' (I'm not going to claim them as perfect examples!) and they are just starting to produce flowers now. I think if I'd been here in that crucial mid-July period, they might be rivalling the plants up on the supper terrace.
The ones on the terrace are pretty good with lots of flower buds to come. The reward for all this labour is 6 flowers on the kitchen table at nearly the end of a very hot July. And, if I keep on watering, lots more to come.
But I'm also glad that I left the self-sown morning glory seedlings to come on and climb the supporting pillars of our balcony. I hope that when the sweet peas can take no more of the seering heat, the blue trumpets will be there to cheer us when we have our morning coffee.
Cheered by success, I'm on a mission to observe carefully those plants that cope with three factors: hot conditions, very cold winters and a silty loamy. The soil is a blessing when you consider moisture-retention important - but not so clever when associated with the first two elements, since most plants that enjoy heat also like good drainage and tend to come from warmer climates than ours. But I'm rising to the challenge. The first success story is Artemesia 'Powis Castle' (although admittedly it has sharper drainage than is to be found on the terraces below).
I'll keep thinking ... any suggestions?