Roger Parsons Sweet Peas is a family-run business consisting of
Roger, his wife Alison and their daughter Fran. Fran has particular responsibility for sales and marketing, so is the person most likely to answer the phone if you ring us up.
Roger Parsons is a professional horticulturist who has been growing Sweet Peas since 1985 and other Lathyrus species since 1991. From 1993, he has been custodian of a National Collection ® of Lathyrus species and from 1998 custodian of a seedbank of Sweet Pea cultivars. In May 2005 the National Collection ® was extended to include L.odoratus cultivars (Sweet Peas). Roger Parsons Sweet Peas was established in 2005 to offer surplus seeds from these collections. Roger has won coveted Gold Awards for his Sweet Peas at National Sweet Pea Society exhibitions in 2008 & 2009. In March 2012, Roger was awarded the prestigious Henry Eckford Gold Memorial Medal. This is the highest honour presented by the National Sweet Pea Society and is rarely awarded. In August 2014, Roger started to exclusively retail seeds for Cooltonagh Irish Sweet Peas.In September 2018, the National Collection ® was awarded Scientific status by Plant Heritage and in July 2019 received the coveted Brickell Award for excellence in the conservation of cultivated plants.
Roger is well known among sweet pea growers as a Trustee and Chairman of the National Sweet Pea Society. He is a former Chairman of the NSPS/Royal Horticultural Society Joint Trials Committee. Roger’s particular interests include the history and development of the sweet pea, other Lathyrus species and the raising of new varieties. He is author of the book "Sweet Peas: an Essential Guide".
Our seed is grown on the deep rich loams of the Sussex coast in small quantities so that emphasis can be placed on the selection of seed from the finest plants in order to maintain the quality of a variety. Some of our seed is produced in New Zealand so that we get a second harvest each year and as back-up in case there is a poor harvest from a wet Summer. As Sweet Peas are annuals, great care must be taken to ensure that the quality of a seed stock does not deteriorate and this is not always possible when grown on a large scale. Sadly, we cannot put back into varieties those qualities which have been lost but we do seek to ensure that existing qualities are retained.