D is for Delphiniums
Delphiniums are one of the many summer flowers that, as a florist, still take my breath away. Their long stems, smothered in the fluffiest flowers from white, to lilac, to cobalt blue, can melt even the hardest heart and put us in mind of English summer gardens in a golden past. Indeed the cottage garden flowers are often grown as perennials in borders, along with annuals, known by most as larkspur. There are over 300 varieties of delphinium, from the Ranunculaceae family which is also home to the buttercup, and all of which are native to the Northern hemisphere.
The name delphinium comes from the Greek word ‘delphis’, which means dolphin, and refers to the cone shaped close flower buds which resemble a dolphin’s nose. The delphiniums are the birth flower for those born in July, appropriate as this is the height of their season, and are also used to communicate cheerfulness, goodwill, encouragement and joy as well as a tribute for a loved one who has passed. The bright blue variety traditionally symbolises dignity and is one of the flowers we use as an example to illustrate why dying flowers is an unnecessary evil. With such a vibrant colour occurring, albeit briefly, in nature, why would it be necessary to dye a lily stem a violent blueish hue?
Delphiniums are a beautiful addition to a meadow style bouquet, the blues are especially striking when mixed with white garden blooms such as ammi majus, lime green alchemilla mollus and classic cream or white garden roses. Alternatively, due to their striking length delphiniums can be displayed on their own in a tall vase with a complementary foliage such as long soft ruscus.
Despite their fluffy, delicate and feathery appearance delphiniums can have a vase life of over 7 days. Their stems should be cut on a 45 degree angle and they should be placed in a few inches of fresh water with a universal flower food and out of direct sunlight.
This image is of the National Delphinium Society stand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.