Thursday, June 14, 2012


Garden Path With Delphiniums

Delphinium 'Morning Lights'

Delphinium Closeup
      As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the delphiniums I am currently growing in my garden are all from the New Millenium series from Dowdeswell's Delphiniums in New Zealand.  The Dowdeswell's have been breeding delphiniums and their plants are supposed to be superior to the Pacific Giant strain which is the more commonly sold delphinium here in nurseries.  I have not done any side by side trials, so I cannot personally attest to this fact, but I do like the New Millenium delphiniums--I like their colors, I like how they have nice sturdy stems which seem to stand up to the elements better than other delphiniums I have grown, and I like the long flower bloom period that they seem to have.
     If you go to  Dowdewell's Delphiniums you will find very spectacular pictures of all their seed strains.  In the first picture above, I have both 'Blue Lace' which is almost a sky blue and 'Morning Lights', which is blue with mauve undertones.  I have recently purchased plants of 'Dusky Maidens',  'Royal Aspirations', and 'Sweethearts' from Annie's Annuals which carries the New Millenium line.  Both 'Dusky Maidens' and 'Sweethearts' are pinkish rather than the more common blue for delphiniums.  I also have 'Pagan Purples' in another part of my garden, but it is in a location that is becoming shaded, so I am going to have to move it. I have found that delphiniums do much better here if they are in full sun, so that they do not become elongated and fall over in an attempt to lean into sun.
     I once swore that I would not grow any more plants that required staking, but i relented when it came to delphiniums.  These are truly the queens of the garden and they do well in the climate of the Pacific Northwest. They are worth the trouble that you have to go to in order to grow them well.  This year I staked them with some very unobtrusive dark green stakes. I placed the stakes at intervals of about a foot around the plants and tied string to all the stakes, forming a circle around the plants.  I did this at two levels on the stakes. It is important to to stake these plants before they fall over--they cannot be resurrected once they fall. I stake them when they are about 3 feet tall.
     Delphiniums also need protection from slugs, particularly when they are first coming up. As I have mentioned previously in posts, I use Sluggo which works very well and is supposedly non toxic to pets and animals.
     Delphiniums like good rich soil and moist, but not waterlogged conditions. They are not especially drought tolerant, but I have found that they don't really need lots of extra water in our climate, either.  It is best not to water them from overhead while they are in bloom, however, as this may cause them to fall over.
     As I mentioned above, they are available from Annies Annuals and I have also found them from time to time in local nurseries. They are also very easy to grow from seed and you can get seed packets inexpensively straight from Dowdeswell's in New Zealand. I  have ordered seed from them in the past and I have been very happy with my experience.  Do not be afraid to order seed from them simply because they are out of the country.
     The third image I have posted above is a closeup of a delphinium flowerette which I have played around with in Photoshop. I am an avid Photoshop user and I will have a post in the future to talk about photography and Photoshop.

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