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Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Posted by campanula UK Cambridge (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 30, 13 at 17:19

I always grow many sweet peas but, in view of the move to a shadier place, I have been looking at the local plantlife and pondering other peas. The meadows next to us are stiff with tufted vetch (vicia crassa), bird's foot treefoil (lotus corniculatus) and horshoe vetch (hippocrepis something) while lathyrus vernus is in the shadier woods. Obviously, I got on the interweb with a hot paypal button and ordered several packets of seed - L.niger, L.pratensis, L.sylvestris, L.aureus(really lovely) L.venetus, a few more varieties of L.vernus, L.rotundifolius and even a few annuals (L.sativa, L,tingitanus).
Of course, seeds are cheap....but sowing space is still at a premium. Anyone else growing peas with helpful suggestions regarding shade/sun, floral impact, pretty leafage and most important, ease of growing?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

I have heard wonderful things about Lathyrus vernus and added some to my front garden this spring. A few of them came with seed pods so I collected the seed and tucked them in around the mother plants. So far, maybe 2 (out of 50 or so) seeds have germinated. I am hoping for more germination in the spring after a good winter chilling cycle, but we shall see.

I have them planted in partial sun. So far they haven't grown at all above ground, but I hope they are busy making extensive roots down below. I have had one problem with them already: they are a favorite of rabbits who munch off every piece of foliage and leave only a twiggy skeleton of a plant. (My city is plagued with uncontrolled rabbits right now and they have even annihilated supposedly unpalatable things like euphorbias.)

Lathyrus aureus and L. rotundifolius look wonderful. I am trying to germinate some L. rotundifolius seeds from Plant World. So far, no luck. But they were only planted 5 weeks ago.

This post was edited by ispahan on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 8:55


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

I've grown L. vernus for a number of years now and adore it. Its a pink two-toned one. Mine is in part shade and does surprisingly well planted under a large, moisture-sucking shrub. They say they are ephemeral plants, but the foliage on mine stays on until frost.

I grew some lovely purple ones from seed a couple years ago (they bloomed this year!!!). I got really good results winter sowing them, especially in comparison to natural re-seeding from the pink plant. I think the soil is just too difficult to accommodate a lot of germination. I seem to recall I did use a couple tricks for the seed I WS'ed:

1) I scratched the seeds slightly (nail file) to help break thru tough exteriors of seeds.

2) soaking in water. Rehydrates the seed and sort of jump-starts the process by signaling to the seed "it's time to germinate!"

3) I read somewhere that citric acid is supposed to help break down and weaken the outer shell. I used a teaspoon or so of lemon juice in my soaking water for them and they did well.

4) when in doubt hypothesize it out! When does the plant bloom? When does the seed form and drop? Lathyrus vernus blooms fairly early in the spring and splits its pods late spring/early summer. That means the seed has a whole summer in the ground before winter comes around. If you come across a particularly difficult seed to germinate try replicating its natural cycle as best you can. I started Lathyrus toward summer I believe....

Ps. L. aureus has been on my list for a long time. Not a great amount of info on it out there, so I would love to hear what you think of it in the future ;-)
CMK


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights..

I went looking for a better explanation of seed scarification and came up with this good article. Probably should have looked BEFORE I wrote the post, lol. I'm sure it will explain it better than I did. It even mentions 'leguminous' seeds as having a particular need of it!!
CMK

Here is a link that might be useful: seed scarification


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Lathryus vernus works very well here.

Hardy and relatively vigorous growth, but stays in a clump.
Size of clumps requires division after a few years.

Although seed pods produced have never had it reseed, though do trim seed pods off.

Bloom centred on first half of May.

Never had the rabbit eat this. Rabbits here are apparently more woody shrub eaters.


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Oh yes, I never bother scarifying sweet peas and possibly wasn't going to bother with venetus either....but rotundifolius, for sure, is one of those that needs the sandpaper and hot water soak routine. The others are new to me (I love the albo-roseus vernus, Christin(e). This shady wood thing is really quite exciting for me because I am certain I have exhausted the possibilities of sun in East Anglia (obviously, there were failures such as 'prairies') and I haven't bothered with the zone-pushing tropicalista stylee (too idle) but I have certainly done wild flowers, ornamental grasses, high alpine scree gardens, gravel xeriscaping (very good for East Anglia) Californian and South African natives, veg and fruit, dahlias, succulents blah, blah. I had a shady garden years ago at the start of my gardening craze and I whined continually because all those easy to germinate annuals just didn't cut it and just when I started to get a bit better at gardening, the massive chestnut tree which overlooked my garden, contracted phytopthera and had to come down.....so I just never really explored the possibilities apart from knowing I didn't care for Hosta (SNAILS) or fernery. Of course, I do grown-up gardening now and fully appreciate the possibilities of foliage....but have not really weaned myself off flowers.
Ispahan, it is just too seductive, the Plant World lists although I bought my seeds from one of those solitary enthusiasts who are scattered across the interweb - Roger Parsons Sweet Peas - he has quite a good site and I also check out the Clothier seed database and an old one from T&M. The words which strike fear in my heart - 'double dormancy'.


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Oh, so pretty, SB.


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Thanks, Campanula.
Like that colour (combination) too.


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

I keep meaning to try a Lathyrus latifolius ; in particular "Red Pearl".


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

The latifolius are a bit rampant, slightly uncontrolled but always reliably perennial. No fragrance but good for putting in jam-jars with nasturtiums in simple posies. Much depends on your type of garden with some peas - they are not particularly neat or refined but if you have a wild (ish) corner, with some handy fencing for the peas to scramble around, then go for it - very easy to grow from seed (ie. not one of those tricky hard-to-germinate ones).


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

The latifolius are a bit rampant, slightly uncontrolled

campanula, I am guessing a zone 4 or 5 would easily keep this plant in check (as compared to the 'balmy' UK ;))


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

8foot x 6foot.....even in chilly Z4

but nonetheless, it will flower and keep going without the continual need for deadheading as with lathyrus odoratus.


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Wieslaw, that plant is stunning! Now, if only I could find a source... :-)


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

How I wish it were true for my garden that rabbits don't eat lathyrus vernus. Nibbled down to an inch; grows to three inches, and the long eared rats return for more. they grew fat and complacent over the summer; I can get within 2 feet of them and they just lope away.


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Ispahan,
I believe Lazy S may carry it.Also, there's a tiny epimedium speciality nursery in Hubbardston MA that had two varieties. the name is on the tip of my tongue...but I can't grab it....
If you google Daryl Probst, epimediums you can probably get there. I don't know if they even ship in the fall. It's a one woman operation....fascinating catalogue .....
Marie


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

Lazy S Farm has 4 listed.


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RE: Lathyrus and other leguminous delights.

and the nursery is GardenVisions. You have to ask for a catalogue to use mail order...It really is old fashioned mail order, not on-line. while you look at vernal peas, inhale the epimediums, too.


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