The easy way to get started with sweet peas is to grow a dwarf type in a patio pot.
In the picture, Little Sweetheart Mix (FGN; to 12 in. tall) fills an 18-in.-diameter container nestled beside deep blue lobelia and purple sweet alyssum.
Other varieties suitable for pots benefit from the light support of obelisks or bamboo stakes. They include old favorites like Jet Set and Knee-Hi as well as Explorer Mix (bushy, 2 1/2-ft.-tall plants), which has long-stemmed flowers in blue, crimson, lavender, rose, salmon, scarlet, and white.
Design: Bud Stuckey, Sunset test garden coordinator
Garden centers and nurseries sell seeds and seedlings. For the best selection, try one of these specialists:
ESP, Enchanting Sweet Peas (800/371-0233)
FGN, Fragrant Garden Nursery (541/412-8840)CP]
RG, Renee's Garden (888/880-7228).
For further guidance, check out The Sweet Pea Book, by Graham Rice (Timber Press, 2002; $20).