I should have posted on this days ago but was feeling too dreadful at the time. After sending the HSL a reminder, I got my Seed guardian info, followed a few days later by my seeds. I've taken on three varieties.
There's Mummy's Pea, one of several that the ancient Egyptian myth attaches to. I already have a few seeds of King Tut, which seems to be another of these.Egypt came under British domination after the Napoleonic Wars, and the first modern Egyptologists followed shortly afterwards. In no time, people were cashing in on all the publicity for ancient Egypt. Credulous tourists were sold peas which had been 'discovered' inside mummies, and seed merchants back home were soon offering peas with similar claims.
The remains of peas actually were discovered in Tutankhamun's tomb when it was excavated in 1922, and the myth transferred itself to this, with peas from the tomb supposedly having germinated. In fact, as you might expect, conditions in Egyptian tombs are not satisfactory for long-term seed storage. No seed from such a tomb has ever been found in a viable state, though a 2000-year-old Judean date palm from a dig in Palestine has been germinated, and found to be genetically quite different from any known date palm.
I suspect - though I don't know - that the various 'mummy peas' go back to the pre-Tutankhamun period, and those with variations on the Pharaoh's name come after. King Tut, AKA Prew's Pea (a name which has attached itself to several of these varieties) is grown in the US, and hasn't any history attached that I know of. Mummy's Pea, (also AKA Prew's Pea) comes from Durweston, near Blandford Forum, Dorset. The local gentry are the Portmans, who were friends of Lord Caernavon, who financed the Tutankhamun dig. Peas from Caernavon's kitchen garden may well have been passed on to their head gardener.
Then there's a climbing bean, Brejo, apparently a Native American heirloom. It's supposed to do well in wet springs, so it may turn out to be a winner. Finally there's an Estonian ridge cucumber, Izjastsnoi (I've no idea how to pronounce that!), which is said to be tolerant of poor treatment and cool temperatures, which is what I like to hear. Cucumbers are outbreeders which need to be isolated to prevent unwanted crosses, so it's going to be a bit more of a challenge.
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