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Grow a Sweet Pea-ter

The first plant that the legendary Sun gardening guru Peter Seabrook ever grew was a sweet pea. It began an 80-year-love affair with these sweet, scented flowers. Now the Queen has given her royal seal of approval to a rare, lilac one named in honour of Peter, who died in January, aged 86.

Touring London's Chelsea Flower Show this week, she stopped at a memorial garden and bench for Peter, the Sun's Gardening Editor for more than 40 years. His former apprentice Molli Christman, 25. proudly presented Her Majesty with a posy of sweet pea 'Peter Seabrook'. The 96-year-old monarch was one of Peter's fans and for many years he made a posy for her that she put in pride of place on her desk.

Now YOU can grow his rare, long-stemmed sweet pea. We have 10,000 seed packs for sale at an exclusive price of £5, including P&P. And £1 from each pack sold will help pay to care for Floral Fantasia, the garden Peter created at RHS Hyde Hall near Chelmsford, Essex - not far from his home. Peter prodigy Molli, of Ware, Herts, said: "Readers will fall in love with sweet pea 'Peter Seabrook'." His garden at RHS Hyde Hall showcases thousands of vibrant blooms to inspire growers of all ages and abilities, as Peter encouraged young people to share his passion.

Sweet pea "Peter Seabrook' was created by grower Chris Wiley, who only began producing plants on a large scale last year. Chris, 27, from Ipswich, says: "It was incredible to see the Queen with Peter's sweet pea. I am delighted Sun readers will be the first to grow this flower in memory of Peter. "It has a long stem and a distinctive, frilly, lilac-coloured petal which becomes ocean-blue as the flowers age. When Peter died, I knew that this was the perfect plant to name in his honour."

Celebrities also admired Peter's work - and TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, newsreader Sophie Raworth and presenters Phillip Schofield and Myleene Klass were among visitors this week to his silver medal Chelsea garden - created by Molli's mum Val, 61, who worked with him for 25 years. Alan, 73, said of the sweet pea named after our man: "It is a fitting tribute to my great mate." Sitting on Peter's memorial bench with Val, Molli and Neil Gow - a garden centre owner and Floral Fantasia committee member - Alan added: "Peter was a fixture at this show for so many years and we shall miss him hugely. "He was generous with his time and information, which is rare. "As well as being a journalist and broadcaster, he was a great champion for horticulture which contributes £27billion a year to the British economy."

BBC favourite Sophie, 54, said: "Peter's sweet pea is beautiful, with a lovely scent, a fitting tribute to a remarkable and very knowledgeable gardener." ITV's This Morning host Phillip, 60, added: "Peter was an extraordinary man." And Myleene Klass, 44, said: "Everyone knew Peter and what better way to remember him than to have his sweet pea in your garden every summer."

Peter's son Roger, 60, daughter Alison, 58, and grandkids Rachel, 25, and Tom, 22, also at the memorial garden, were honoured the Queen loved her posy. Alison, a retired teacher, said: "Dad always loved Chelsea because it was the top gig. Being at the show was like winning the Premier League every year. "Dad always loved sweet peas. As a young man, he started growing them and selling to florists to earn some extra money. "He always encouraged schoolchildren to germinate sweet peas in margarine tubs during the autumn term and then watch them bloom in the summer."

Mike Ridley - The Sun

To order, please go to: www.precious-plants.co.uk/SUNPS

Please note that delivery will be Autumn 2022

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This story was published on: 27/05/2022

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