One of the most lovely and delicate blossoms for a bridal bouquet is sweet pea. Sweet pea is said to mean blissful pleasure—what a lovely way to symbolically start off married life together. They are best when combined with other more sturdy flowers because their vines are thin and need propping up. In pastel shades of pinks and purples, whites, or even deep reds, they look stunning arranged with peony (what doesn’t look amazing with peony).
I have been growing sweet pea in my garden for several years. They are very old-fashioned blooms, associated with Victorian times. I think that their delicate petals and frilly climbing greenery are what makes them the quintessential cottage garden flower. Their darling green tendrils are like sweet tendrils of hair falling from a beautiful up-swept hairdo. I imagine Jane Austin taking a stroll in a garden bubbling over with sweet pea before sitting down to write one of her many novels. Very inspiring. And as I looked for poems about sweet pea, to my delight I found this beautiful poem by Keats. And then I found another inspired by Keats by Robert Henry Forster. How fun!
Excerpt from 2. I Stood tip-toe upon a little hill
By John Keats
Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.
(Click here to view complete poem)
“HERE are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight.”
How aptly that immortal poet sings
Of these and of all other lovely things
Which move the heart to rapture through the sight,
As though these flowers, so shapely and so bright,
Were fairies, poised on half-expended wings!
And still the fragrance of a garden clings
To every page that Keats was spared to write.
For of all poets of whatever clime
None ever loved the garden more than he,
Who was himself a flower that ere its prime
Perished untimely. Ere the bud could be
Brought to full splendour by the April sun,
A glimpse of beauty opened, and was done.
Surely the poet’s vision must be true.
Pixies are these, by Oberon’s command,
Sent on a mission here from Fairy Land,
Winged and attired in red or purple-blue,
White, or maroon, or pinks of subtle hue;
But unto those who do not understand,
And would have all imagination banned,
Just sweet pea flowers, and nothing strange or new.
But in a garden undiluted prose
Is surely wrong, and poesy is right;
And one thing gives us courage to suppose
That in our garden fairies take delight;
For though they stand on tip-toe for a flight,
There they remain, and not a fairy goes.