Sweet Peas were very popular in early American gardens and Thomas Jefferson, who desired "fragrant or beautiful flowers" for his gardens, planted "Lathyrus odoratus. sweet scented pea" in an oval flower bed near the southwest portico of Monticello in 1811.1
This fragrant flower was first brought into cultivation by a Franciscan monk, Francis Cupani, who sent seed to England from Sicily in 1699.2 By 1730, several color forms were known, including the lovely pink and white "Painted Lady."3 It is a spring-flowering vine with highly scented blossoms. "Painted Lady" is pink and white, "Prima Donna" is pale pink, "Indigo King" is bluish purple, and "Queen of the Isles" is red and white.