I am a lathyrusomaniac.
Lathyrusomania is a common minor horticultural disorder affecting a great many gardeners. It can be defined as an excessive love of sweet peas and the uncontrollable desire to propagate and exhibit as well as harden off in public places.
Further symptoms include increased water bills, the frequent disappearance of the family trug, a proclivity for tip pinching and an obsessive compulsion to go to the end of the garden to see how Lord Nelson is doing.
It is believed that lathyrusomania may be caused or , at least, brought on by various factors, like the environment (having a garden) , life events ( purchasing a spacious greenhouse ) and the close proximity to reasonably-priced growbags. An aesthetic sense hitherto hidden or a latent, previously suppressed artistic side may also be contributory. Self-diagnosed lathyromaniacs admit that mulching , like smoking, releases tension and fulfils unsatisfied sensual needs.
Heredity also plays a big part. Many sweet pea growers are genetically prediposed to cultivate fragrant climbing annuals. Through their father, mother , grandparents or Uncle Joe. Others, through peer group pressure mainly,. will have discvovered sweet peas recreationally with a friend offering some to smell. As many lathryusomanics say, “After one sniff, there is no turning back.”
Middle age can also play a role in the onset of the most serious and suden lathhryusomania. Men under the age of 50 seemalso more likely to develop the condition along with the need to wear roomy corduroys, braces and a secatuers holsters.
Clearly showing an abnormal amount of affection toward one plant species suggest that normal , adult horticultural cravings have not be satisfied by tomato or runner bean growing.
Lathryomania can be controlled if spotted early. Look out for early warning signs like discarded Sutton’s and Thompson & Morgan seed packets, paper bag colour pods in jackets and trouser pockets and the appearance of bamboo cane wigwams around the garden. A water butt might also indicate early lathyrusomania.
The condition is at its most chronic about now when the victim is often heard to be praise Eagle Sweet Peas raised in New Zealand and nurture din Stowe by Chartley near Stafford. Holding in cupped hand for reverence priceless seeds such as Senator and the 2021 Rebecca.
He or she can be found in May enjoying heady hits from Van Meunen’s Mollie Rilstone, Villa Rome Sacarlet. Chatworth and Robert Ivedale. He or she will be regularly caught inhaling deep lungfuls of early Mammoth and Antique Fantasy Mix.
Throughout summer, the whole house will reek sweetly and its occupants give off the cloying fragrance of Scent Infusion and Nimbus. All unmistakeable signs of a serious recreational sweet pea habit. A tepee is never far away.
But help is at hand. Support is not just offered by pea sticks, nylon mesh and old chicken wire. It is not a modern phenomenon. The Sweet Pea Society has been offering counselling to sweet pea lovers and their families since 1900.