In a vase on Monday – back in the game!

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I guess I must have a bit of an addiction – not just to Cathy’s lovely ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme at Rambling in the Garden, but also (and more seriously!) to delphiniums.

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Now the thing is, they are not the kind of plant I would normally be comfortable growing. They require far too much work, and in a big garden with only one person keeping everything up to the mark that’s something you can do without out.

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I was persuaded to buy the first in 2012 – my husband, the Bon Viveur, saw it in our local market at Jussey. One stately, gloriously tall white spike in a very large pot. After saying ‘no’ several times, I gave in. It went home with us and was planted out in the Rose Walk. Only about a week later it collapsed completely, a victim of the voles that were gobbling things up as quickly as I could plant them that year.

I bought a Hayloft plant collection. They were planted in March 2015, lower down in a cooler spot and watered, fed, supported lovingly.

So far, so good, for two years. Last autumn/winter many disappeared (I didn’t water much last summer and winter temperatures dipped to nearly -20C). Out of about 15 plants I think we had six left this spring. But by then it was far too late. I purchased more – another Hayloft collection for planting out next spring and quite a few decent sized plants from a mail order nursery I’ve started using called Promesse de Fleurs.

And so it goes on … and will doubtless cost me a small fortune before I’m through. And then there’s the hours spent googling the best way to show them real TLC. Sadly I learnt that the sort I’m planting – ‘Pacific Hybrids’ – are considered by some to be biennial.

This year they have had no attention at all – no support, nothing. A bit of a horticultural disaster.

When the first rain and thunderstorms we’ve had in a fortnight threatened on Friday night I rushed out to pick some of the blooms that were already trailing on the ground.

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They’ve made a pretty vase, accompanied by two stems of Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus (I think!) …

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… and some white Campanula persicifolia.

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When I look at their little furry faces through my camera lens, I know there’s no hope for me.

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And oh, that blue! A friend of mine says she doesn’t like blue flowers. Can it be possible that there are gardeners out there who don’t relish a touch of blue on their plots?

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Do you have a favourite flower colour in the garden? Tall delphinium tales also gratefully accepted!

Hop on over to see what all those lovely Monday vases look like – you’ll find the links at Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden. And many thanks to Cathy again for being such a gracious and generous host for the IAVOM meme (at least that addiction doesn’t cost me anything!).

Have a wonderful gardening week!

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34 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – back in the game!

  1. rogerwaldram

    They are beautiful. I’ve just bought some as bomottes-tiny seedlings in containers-like a plant-plug. Our front garden not so long ago resembled a building site so we still have much to do. Our varieties of perfumed plant plugs are beginning life in troughs so may survive?
    Thanks for your gorgeous photos.
    Roger

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I think what I bought from Hayloft were similar to what you describe. Tiny plugs – very good value! I grew them on for a season in pots and planted out in March. Good idea to grow them on in troughs, thanks for the idea! Enjoy your garden and thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  2. Noelle

    Loved your tales of problems with your delphiniums…bon courage, the best way forward is to beg ‘cuttings’ of plants you see growing well in your area. The colours sing out in your vase. My favourite colour depends on the time of the year…but a splash of blue is certainly to be applauded.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I think you are right about the cuttings. Unfortunately we live in an area where not many people do ‘gardening’ in our sense. I have seen delphiniums in markets, but rarely in other people’s gardens. It could be that voles are such a pronounced problem for everyone round here. And yes – whatever colour is looking fabulous is the best!

      Reply
  3. Cathy

    I never used to like blue flowers either, but some years ago was tempted by a blue salvia (long since gone!) and decided I needed a separate border as it didn’t look right with anything else – hence the blue & white border! Now I LOVE blue flowers, especially deep blue ones like your delphinium. I know just what you mean about these collections of plants, but I think my year of buying plants has weaned me off them – I do however still have one Hayloft delphinium left, similar to yours which must be in its third year and does not get any attention other than staking, so it must be happy 🙂 Yours really stands out with the campanula and the hemerocallis – so thanks for sharing it, as I know I am not going to be cutting mine!!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I remember exchanging Hayloft notes with you the first time I posted about the delphiniums – they were a very good buy at the price. I haven’t even staked this year, so I’ve only myself to blame for problems! Blue and white sounds terrific in a border.

      Reply
  4. Christina

    I love Delphiniums but it is too hot for them here and they’d hate my soil. But Larkspur do very well and have the same fabulous blue flowers. The seed is very cheap, this year I’ve picked so many already. Your vase is lovely, enjoy 😊

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks Christina! I have some larkspur started off but I went away at the wrong time this year … still, they are sort of finding their feet.

      Reply
  5. Alison C

    They are stunning flowers and I love the iridescence on the petals. I’ve had the best luck growing them from seed but you do need patience. Once they get going they get very little attention and do ok. I know that is now what you want to hear! Your vase is brilliant with the yellow too. I love all the flowers in turn so it would be impossible to pick a favourite. Pink, maybe, but tomorrow I’ll say something different!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I know – for me the favourite is different every week too. But that just shows how happy we gardeners are with what our gardens dish up to us. I shall try the delphs from seed, as you say. So far I’m not doing too well with seed here, because (I think) my prop area gets too much shade during the day. It’s difficult in summer when it can be blazingly hot to find an area for seedlings where they don’t scorch if you turn your back for 5 minutes. Shall keep trying!

      Reply
  6. Kris P

    Beautiful! I ADORE blue flowers and Delphinums are at the top of my list but I’ve resisted growing them for years in the belief they won’t grow here, where we’re faced with drought, miserable summer heat, and near-continuous wind. But my brother was successful in growing them (from seed yet!) in his even hotter, drier inland valley garden so I’m committed to giving them a try next year.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Perhaps you could also try larkspur – or maybe you do already, Kris? I know that Christina has told me she grows larkspur instead because it’s too hot for the delphs. I couldn’t make the delphs live up on the terrace. My answer has been a border in part-day shade lower down in the garden and quite a bit of watering/feeding (when I remember).

      Reply
  7. Eliza Waters

    Beautiful combination, Cathy. I’ve always loved Delphinium, esp. the cobalt blue/violet ones. I gave up growing them for the same reasons– the need to stake, how one storm can make a mess of them and their short life spans. Plants that need coddling don’t last long in my garden!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Same here, Eliza. But unfortunately we seem to have taken that path in our married life! And I did love that A.A. Milne poem about the dormouse (slept happiest in a bed of ‘delphiniums blue’) so perhaps that’s part of it?!!!

      Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      This seems to be what Christina does and actually there’s something about the charm of the more delicate larkspur that I almost prefer!

      Reply
  8. Cathy

    Your Delphiniums are lovely Cathy, but I have always resisted putting them in my own garden simply beacuse I think they wouldn’t ‘go’. Not sure why, but I prefer admiring them over other people’s garden fences! LOL! I admire your perseverance with them and hope you have better luck in future too! I love every and any colour in my garden and would not have the patience to eradicate a single colour or have a ‘white garden’ or a ‘blue bed’, attractive as they might be. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I don’t think they really ‘go’ with my wild ideas either, Cathy! But when I lived in England I never had a delphinium border (it always sounded too grand!) and my husband was very insistant. I am still looking for the dormouse to live in it! Agree about the colours. It’s only combinations that sometimes get on my nerves.

      Reply
  9. Peter/Outlaw

    Oh my, your arrangement is gorgeous. While blue is a favorite color in the garden, I find myself a little green with envy at your success with these beauties! I’ve tried many times with delphiniums here but they don’t seem to like my garden. Either they suffer with mildew or the slugs eat the emerging foliage. Every now and then one will seduce me from the tables at nurseries as the blue hues are glorious. In my Alaska garden, they grew like weeds, one of the perennials that, for some reason, loved the cold winters. Seems like just about every garden had them there as they were often divided and passed on and they grew to astounding heights in the long daylight of summer. Seeing delphiniums always brings sweet memories of that place and the gardens of my youth. Thanks and happy gardening!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Your Alaska garden – how totally fascinating! Do you have any pictures that you could share? (Or perhaps you have and I have, embarrassingly, missed them>) And the idea that delphiniums liked it in that perishing cold! It kind of puts paid to my thought that our severe winter here (possibly -20?) may have seen some of them off. I have to say, humbly, that thus far with delphiniums my ‘success’ has been in direct proportion to expenditure. I hope, after reading what’s out there on the blogs of those who are committed delph fans, that it may not always be so in the future!

      Reply
  10. Linda Brazill

    Oh, my!! Someone who doesn’t like blue flowers. Now that is a rare gardener. I love Delphiniums but the Midwest has too many strong windstorms to make them worth the effort.

    Reply
  11. smallsunnygarden

    Those delphiniums are beautiful – I’ve always promised myself that I’d grow some if I gardened in an appropriate climate as I love blue flowers, and especially that sort of iridescent color! But I can see that there might a variety of opinions as to what actually constitutes an appropriate climate! Yours are certainly lovely with the campanula and hemerocallis!

    Reply
  12. Chloris

    How beautiful, I am mad on delphiniums too, they come in such amazing colours. They are work intensive but well worth it. I thought I had mine well staked but yesterday’s gales has laid many of them out flat. I don’t usually like double flowers but I am very fond of an old variety called ‘Alice Artindal’ which as the prettiest flowers imaginable. Have you come across it?

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I don’t know ‘Alice Artindal at all. I fear you are leading me further down the rocky path, since I’m immediately going to start looking for it. I need to look after my delphs better than I have this year, since they give me so much pleasure!

      Reply
  13. Anna

    I love delphiniums but I’m sure that my ever hungry mollusc population would be partial so have never tried to grow them. It’s great admiring them from afar Cathy and they look fabulous in that vase. My favourite flower colour is …..wait for it …..blue….. so I can’t comprehend why somebody would dislike blue flowers. Such a calming colour.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I must admit that I am using (eco-friendly) slug pellets quite a lot. At least we (mostly) have driesh weather, but whenever I water or it rains, I have to be very vigilant. When I look at my this week’s vase (12 June), it reminds me that scabious is just as lovely a blue as delphiniums – and a lot less trouble!

      Reply

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