New Zealand sweet pea breeder, Dr Keith Hammett, introduces many more improved and innovative new sweet peas than anyone else. That’s all there is to it. How he has time to develop new dahlias as well is a mystery.
Two impressive bicolour introductions are available for the first time in Britain this autumn: ‘Emilia Fox’ and ‘Route 66’.
"Exhibitors want strict conformity. Breeders have sought to satisfy them by producing self-coloured blooms where the standard and wing petals are as similar as possible,' says Keith. "I went against this by producing a series of bicoloured cultivars where the standard is darker than the wing. ‘Emilia Fox’ (right) and ‘Route 66’ (below) are representative of this class of sweet pea that had almost been lost".
Keith describes ‘Emilia Fox’ as a larger, frilly, long-stemmed form of the original wild sweet pea, first grown in England in 1699. It has a maroon standard which is mauve at the base and red-veined, mauve wings. It was originally offered by Keith in New Zealand as ‘Cocktail’.
‘Route 66’ is a dramatic well-scented, deep rose pink and white bicolour. It's an update on ‘Renaissance’, originally introduced in the 1970s.
Sweet pea cultivation
Dr Keith Hammett
Sweet pea ‘Emilia Fox’ is available from Mr Fothergill’s
Sweet pea ‘Route 66’ is available from Thompson and Morgan
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