Garden Dolphin

Ok, so it’s kind of a dumb title but the name delphinium derives from the latin word for dolphin.  Something about the inner parts of a delphinium flower reminded someone somewhere of the shape of a dolphin.  Good enough for me, but last night’s deluge drowned all my little dolphins.  The rain was too much and nearly every single bloom is bent over or snapped off.  Fortunately I can remember them through last weeks pictures.

This is the sole survivor of a packet of “New Millenium” seed.  They sprouted well but a week of neglect in July left only this one.  Several more weeks of neglect stunted the seedling but then for some reason a late fall planting in garden soil and a winter rest inspired it to send up a bloom stalk.  My vote is nay on the fuzzy brown/black center but others are in favor.

New Millenium delphinium  I’m much in favor of the dark center of this violet(?) bloom….. (sorry but my color vocabulary doesn’t go much further than blue and purple).  Note the permanent crook in the stem that comes from waiting too long on staking.purple delphinium

This is another which was inspired to bloom well this summer.  It’s possible the cool weather has had a lot to do with this.sky blue delphinium

These blooms are nothing compared to the flower show this plant is capable of.  Growing delphiniums is a borderline activity anywhere temperatures routinely go into the hot and humid range, and if you’re the type of person who enjoys spending the summer poolside or shaded under the porch (or hidden away under central air) well then you’ve probably got the beautiful summers that delphinium hate.

This amazing plant was obviously not the product of my upbringing.  Purchased this April for maybe $4 it’s worth every cent.  Unfortunately I can’t find any good pictures from when it was opened, just this starting view.  If you’re selecting a delphinium in the spring, look for one with a strong single stem, not multiple growing points.  One with a flower stalk showing if possible.delphinium

One day I might give these plants what they really need.  In my zone (6-ish) that means morning sun, rich soil with no root competition, regular watering, and any soil amendment you can spare.  They are heavy feeders and if you noticed the yellowish leaves on my plants you’ll know I don’t fertilize them like I should.  Maybe somewhere deep down inside I know delphinium season always ends badly, and this year is no exception.  Summer storms and snapped stems let me cut what I never would have thought of cutting and bringing indoors.  The kids have something nice to look at today while they eat their breakfast.cut delphiniums

 

Camassia

The garden here always goes through a bit of a slump once the tulips begin to fade.  The iris haven’t kicked in yet and most of the late spring flowers aren’t doing a whole lot.  Bleeding hearts, columbine, and oriental poppies would all probably help out, but camassia is what looks the best right now.  I have two types, Camassia ‘Caerulea’ and ‘Blue Danube’.  One is supposed to have a rich lavender color and the other a dark blue…. but I can’t tell a difference between them.  One might be a few inches shorter but that could be soil or location or whatever.camassia 'blue danube'The yellow iris behind is ‘Elsa Sass’, a historic iris from 1939. It blooms early for me, but maybe that’s from being close to the house.

camassia 'Caerulea'Camassias are a bulb native to Northwestern North America and while I grow them in regular garden soil, they’re supposed to tolerate wet soils and clay soils.  Apparently they’re edible too, but I’ll pass for now.  This is the other clump, Camassia ‘Caerulea’.  I like both types well enough, blue is always welcome and they’ve never required any special care, but for me they don’t seem to bloom very long.  Just over a week seems about average, I’d much rather they held out for at least two.