It’s sweet pea season |

It’s sweet pea season

Aspen Times Staff Report

“You can tell it’s spring,” says Ramona Markalunas, “because the sweet pea seeds are ready.”

Over 1,100 packets of seeds, in fact. And they’re now available, free of charge, at The Aspen Times’ office at 310 E. Main St.

Markalunas, a longtime Aspen resident, has for many years been spreading the word about the beauty of sweet peas. She teamed up with Accent Properties and The Aspen Times a number of years ago to purchase the seed packets to offer to anyone willing to plant them.

The idea for the first Sweet Pea Summer sprouted in 1991 as Markalunas looked for a way to beautify local neighborhoods.

“When I first came to Aspen in the ’50s, everybody grew sweet peas. They grew all along Main Street,” Markalunas recalled. “I thought it was so great – they’re such beautiful flowers, and they smell so nice. It’s kind of a way to remind everyone that people care a lot about this town.”

The blossoms are perfect for home gardens as well as flower boxes around local businesses, Markalunas said – as long as they’re planted in direct sunlight. Each seed packet comes with planting instructions to help even those without green thumbs see their plants grow and thrive.

Sweet peas spread best if planted before May 15. The Times currently has boxes full of sweet pea seed packets, but they are usually snatched up rather quickly. Anyone with questions can call 925-3414.

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