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Have you noticed the beautiful sweet peas that adorn the Rohnert Park signs greeting you as you enter the city? Here's a story of how that came to be...
Rohnert Park came from Hollister Seed Farm. Mr. Rohnert planned to cultivate seed crops of beets, carrots, onions, and, best of all, sweet peas. Doris O'Dell tells this story in her 1960 book, "Rohnert (Waldo Emerson) devised a system of ditches to drain the fields where Cotati youths had hunted ducks in the past, and he and his son, Fred Rohnert, established a seed farm that employed hundreds, sometimes working 24 hours a day. Mustard, radishes, garlic, onions, lettuce and carrots were grown in the fields, but the crop that most people remember best is the sweet peas. Nick Woodrich, who worked for the Rohnert farm, remembers that in 1939 there were seventy acres, all in multi-colored sweet peas. Trains full of sightseers would come up from Sausalito and travel at about 5 miles an hour - a man could walk alongside the moving train - just so people could see and smell the blossoms. They'd go to Santa Rosa, then turn around and come right back, breathing deeply all the way. On a hot day, the seeds would pop open and it sounded like a field full of firecrackers."

The true sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus, is an annual which has to be grown from seed each year. However, there are some species that are sound perennials and make excellent garden plants.

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