Sunday, May 27, 2012
And they came back year after year, as flowers faded to reveal fat seed-pods that dried, split and found a cozy home in the soil.
Gradually, I began to notice that each year's sweet pea crop was becoming more predominated by one color - a deep red-violet. Evolution - or devolution - had wiped out the more delicate strains of pale pink, cherry red or blue sweet peas, and left only this strong elemental variety - vigorous and strongly scented.
Observing the process of evolution through sweet peas is not a new idea - my high school science teacher taught us about Gregor Mendel, whose experiments with another pea species, pisum sativum, pioneered the modern theories of genetics.
It's been almost fifteen years since I threw those packages of seeds into my garden, and over the years the crop has diminished, due in part to Marcielo's diligent practices of winter garden cleaning. But here and there, a few remain, and twine up through the cistus or the rosemary, and give us the gift of their beauty and scent.