Mollie Rilstone (Lathyrus odorata) is many people's ideal Sweet pea variety - and with good reason. Its large, Spencer-type frilly blooms are a delicate shade of cream, set off perfectly by a dusky pink picotee edging and light veining. If you prefer a more contemporary or bolder-coloured variety, why not look at our full range of sweet peas for sale? Mollie Rilstone is the go-to variety for exhibitors who want a picotee bloom that doesn't fade too quickly as the flower opens and ages, making it perfect for showing. It's also very consistent for a picotee, which often vary in colouration. The lovely colour combination gives the flowers a real vintage appeal, perfect for a traditional and cottage garden setting. Add the lovely, typical sweet pea scent to its good looks and it's no wonder Mollie Rilstone is so popular.
Whether you grow it on its own or mixed with other sweet pea varieties, Mollie Rilstone is sure to be a hit. Fragrant sweet peas are especially good planted near sitting areas where the perfume can be appreciated at leisure. The blooms won't get lost in large border displays like some of the single colour, darker varieties but it's still wise to plant them within easy reach of a path, so you can deadhead regularly and easily to keep the plants flowering. Remember, the formation of sweet pea seed pods mean the plant has done its job of setting seed and doesn't need to produce more flowers. That's why the more you pick, the more flower buds the plant makes.
Imagine growing it in a traditional-style fragrant cottage border with deep pink David Austin English repeat-flowering roses, such as the cerise pink James L Austin or deep crimson Munstead Wood, underplanted with lavender and scented annuals like Nicotiana (tobacco plant). Mollie Rilstone is also suitable for growing in large pots but do remember sweet peas are hungry and thirsty plants and they'll need regular watering and feeding with a high-potash fertiliser to encourage flower formation. Make sure the pot is big enough to support a growing frame securely - if it isn't, train the plants up a sunny wall covered with a pea or bean net or trellis. Tie into the supports if necessary, especially in windy areas - the plants can snap, especially if they've outgrown their canes or wigwam and are very top-heavy.
Spencer sweet peas got their name from Silas Cole, a gardener working for the Spencer (Diana, Princess of Wales') family. In 1900, he bred a variety with much bigger flowers and wavy petal edges. He named the bright pink variety Countess Spencer, in tribute to his employer. The variety was exhibited at the first National Sweet Pea Society's show in 1901 and this is the ancestor of all modern Spencer types.