As we celebrate July 4th with family and friends and light our long sparklers (legal in WA) , I think it’s appropriate to also celebrate a long-stemmed flower that rivals the dazzle of sparklers this holiday! Perennial delphiniums, sometimes called larkspurs, grow well in the cool, moist climate of the Pacific Northwest. Ours in one perennial bed and in the small garage garden began blooming a couple of weeks ago and now some of them have reached a fully open stage. The colors of these flower towers are stunning.
The name delphinium comes from the Greek word for “little dolphin” because of the shape of a gland in the blossoms that produces nectar. You can see the shape of a dolphin – actually more like a tadpole — in this photo of a young flower still in bud in my garden.
Against the wall in the small garden-by-the-side-of-the-garage, lofty blooms reach well over six feet high. I was late staking these hollow-stemmed, slightly fragile flowers, so they permanently lean a bit. I feel like I’m in some English country cottage garden when I walk alongside these.
Down the hill, one of the perennial beds features a few colors of delphiniums with double blossoms that are beautiful together. I don’t have the heart to cut these full blooms and have been enjoying them outdoors instead of bringing them indoors. Our hens seem to enjoy these as well — one is sitting serenely among the flowers in a photo below.
I’m researching ways to add to the delphiniums here at Coppertop for next summer, perhaps starting new varieties from seed this fall. In my reading I came across this UK site which features some detailed, highly magnified photos of a colorful hybrid delphinium. Absolutely gorgeous! http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjun09/bj-delphinium.html