Garden Clippings for July 28, 2018

Good gardeners aren’t good unless they have a good perennial garden.  And good perennial gardeners will plant a variety of perennials to guarantee there is always something blooming, from early spring to late fall.

Every gardener has their favorite perennials, but the consensus is that the summer garden is most colourful, with longest lasting bloom.  Summer flowering perennials give the most bang for the buck.

At the starting gate of the sunny summer garden are Delphiniums, often called Larkspur.

If you were to put together a list of perennials that suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, Delphiniums would top the charts.  Their tall stately flower spikes command attention in the summer garden with a powerful showing of white, blue, pink and purple.

But Delphiniums also need attention from the gardener.  They will fall over if not staked.  They like fertilizer and rich well drained soil.  Delphiniums are not keen on heat and perform best when they are given a reasonable supply of moisture.

Delphiniums grow famously in England, Holland and Belgium where summers are more likely to be cooler with more rain.  Gardeners in Ontario will find that Delphiniums perform best when we have summers like 2017.  Not so much when we have hot, humid and dry weather.

Because many Delphiniums achieve heights of up to 5 feet, they should be planted at the rear of a mixed perennial garden.  If planted solo in a windy location, they will need to be staked to prevent falling over.

Fertilizer is Delphiniums’ best friend.  At planting time, add plenty compost or manure to enrich the soil.  For best performance, add granular rose food in spring and again in early summer.

Delphiniums can be planted any time of the year.  They will look spindly when first purchased but will quickly grow strong roots in anticipation of next year’s growth.  Delphiniums benefit from dividing and transplanting which is best done early in spring or late summer.

Delphiniums will flower through most of the summer, beginning early in July.  If you cut off the blooms when they dry up and begin to fade, they will bloom again later in the fall.

It is not only you and I who will enjoy Delphinium’s prominence in the garden.  Butterflies, Bumble Bees and Hummingbirds will make frequent stops to enjoy their bold colours.