Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I'll never forget the first time I saw a DELPHINIUM.  I was just a child, and the stately flower stalks were in the garden of my Grandma Holland.  It was so eye-catching and I was fascinated by it's vibrant color.  Little did I know that I would follow in her footsteps and "grow up" to be a gardener.  I remember few flowers of my childhood, but Delphinium is one I definitely do!   Delphiniums come in many hard-to-find blue shades, and if you've followed my blog for any time at all, you know I love blues in the garden!  Delphinium come in shades from pure white, to sky blue, to dark, royal blue, and every shade of blue in between.  They also come in shades of mauve, pink and lavender.  Although I love the big, beautiful Pacific Hybrids, my favorite are the Belladonna Group hybrids.  They are shorter--3-4 feet (compared to 4-6 feet), and bear loosely branched spikes of flowers.  I've found that they are easier to grow, are more tolerant of the heat in summer weather, and they are longer-lived plants.  The Pacific Giants are best grown as biennials, or even annuals.  The Belladonna are long-lived and easy to use in arrangements.  Delphiniums need rich soil, that is well drained.  They are heavy feeders, and so they require regular watering (and some recommend fertilizing during their bloom time), during the summer, but wet soil can be fatal, so make sure you don't have them in an area where there might be standing water.  They like full or partial sun, but mine do best in an area with afternoon shade.  They can blow over easily--so stake them when they are still small.  They have hollow, brittle stems, and so they break off rather easily if they aren't securely staked.  After their first bloom, if you cut them off just above the mound of foliage, new spikes will grow and you'll most likely get a second bloom in late summer or early fall.  When done blooming, allow the plant to die back naturally, since it will produce food for next year's flowers.  They can get powdery mildew, although the Belladonna (or bush delphinium) doesn't seem to be bothered much by it.  The Belladonna is blooming right now, and has been blooming since the first of June.  It  will continue through the fall--that's another reason why I like that variety so much.  I have it interspersed through all the beds.  The color draws the flowers in, and I feel it brings unity to the beds.   I order mine very inexpensively through mail-order catalogs.  I highly recommend the bush delphinium--truly one of my favorites in the garden.
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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