Restormel (Lathyrus odoratus Restormel) is a striking large-flowered Spencer variety which will certainly get everyone's attention but... you may think you're looking at different flowers if you do an internet search! It's the fabulous variation of colour that is so eye-catching - and confusing. Restormel is described as red-orange, even cerise, with a hint of deep pink at the bottom of the petals. On top of this, deep scarlet veining covers the flowers and this combination makes them appear to change colour in different light. In bright sunlight, they positively shimmer and in the evening, they glow. Bred by the famous 'Pip' Tremewan in 1989, Restormel is true to its Spencer origins, with wavy, uniform standards and wings (the upper and lower petals). It has a pleasant scent - 'red' varieties are not usually known for their fragrance, so ideal for those who don't like to be overpowered with perfume. If you prefer your sweet peas to have a stronger scent, check out our full sweet pea range.
Restormel is loved by the sweet pea enthusiast and is a show bench and exhibition favourite classed as a 'red' by the National Sweet Pea Society (NSPS). It was the favourite 'red' in the 1990s at shows, with its distinctive colouring and wavy, large flowers with long stems. Members of the NSPS voted Restormel the 15th most popular sweet pea in 1999 and it won the NSPS Clay Cup in 1989 for the best vase in the National Show.
As one of the taller sweet pea varieties - Restormel can reach up to 2.4m - make sure you provide your plants with suitable support to climb on. This extra height means it is ideal to cover the side of a sunny shed, wall or garage, as long as you have good access to deadhead the flowers regularly. Also, hiding a variety like Restormel with such unusual colouring would be a waste - the flowers need to be appreciated close-up or the delicate shading and intricacies of the petals will be lost. Unlike many varieties which can run out of steam, Restormel really gets into its stride late in summer and will keep on going as long as the weather is kind! Pair them in a bed with other annuals or perennials that come into their own in late summer - dahlias in either very dark or pale shades - keep well away from the shades in the sweet pea. Deep red/purple Arabian Knight or Black Jack and white Snowstorm or Furka provide a complete contrast in flower shape and colour.
Red varieties of sweet pea often have a poor fragrance compared to other colours - Restormel is an exception to this rule.