I adore sweet peas as they are beautiful and they have a strong stunning fragrance. During the past couple of years I have started to grow flowers in the garden, previously I had just focused on growing food. Although It’s hard to keep on top of both the vegetable garden and the flower beds, I always squeeze in time to build something fun each year. This year I made this sweet pea tepee for my daughter Mia. This is in our little nature area, so now there is a place for Mia to sit and watch the birds and butterflies.
I built this in the spring, so I don’t have any step by step photos – but it is easy enough without (trust me😉).
Firstly, I ordered a pack of 10 1.2m bamboo canes from Wilko and some brown twine on a roll– the roll is so much easier when you weave in and out of the canes. The last thing that is required is the sweet pea seeds. I purchased mine from Lidl, but these are also available at Wilko if easier to do in one shop.
As you can see it can be made for such little cost. We had an old wooden cable reel in our ‘upcycle pile’ amongst a load of pallets (we are fans of pallet projects here). We used this reel for seating, but originally I had planned to have a walk-in tepee.
The bamboo canes arrived tied up so I left the top bits of twine attached (still on the canes) and cut off the rest. By keeping the top connected, you can already make your tepee by spreading the canes apart evenly into a circle shape leaving a wide gap for the entrance (when you try it you’ll see just how easy it is). I moved mine around the cable reel which was added support, but it’s fine without as long as they are pushed into the soil about 10cm (each cane).
The next step is to secure the top of tepee; wrapping twine around and into a tight knot. This is where the twine on the roller is a great help; weave in an out of the canes horizontally (if you look in the above picture inside the tepee). I found weaving rows in separate pieces of twine worked best to avoid it slacking. I left a few inches in-between rows. This was an exciting stage for me as the base structure was completed.
Now the fun begins.. I have hard clay for soil so I wasn’t optimistic if anything was going to grow up the tepee, so I even planned on covering with fabric if nothing happened. I dug around the outside of the base of the tepee (not very much just enough to plant the seeds). I put a few seeds in each hole I’d made then covered with a handful of compost.
I also added a small Jasmine climber (I bought for about £3 in Morrison’s) at the back as it’s evergreen, so I thought there would be colour all year round. The jasmine seems to be so slow-growing though so I imagine it will start to climb up after a few years.
Within weeks the sweet peas started to climb up the structure. I also grew some sweet peas indoors in case they needed to be added (and I used them in other areas on the garden). I used some soft plant ties to connect the first few to the twine to train them in the right direction.
I added some bunting for some colour before the flowers appeared – which Mia picked.
Then the next thing I knew it was covered in about 6 different colours. The scent is stunning and Mia loves to sit in there; observing the wildlife… and playing dinosaurs 😁
I told my Nan about this project on the phone today, and she explained I need to pick the flowers so they keep flowering instead of going straight to seed, so I ended up with 5 large glasses full which have been placed around the house spreading their amazing scent ☺. I have left some on though and plan to save the seeds to plant again next year (also love the look of ‘blue shift’ variety 😍)
So if you fancy one of these, go for it! Its budget friendly, easy to make and adds a fun for everyone even the butterflies.
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