Do you have a list of plants that you are determined to figure out and grow?
Delphinium are high on my version of that list.
I can't tell you how many times I have struck out with delphiniums over the years.
Given my track record with this tall perennial, you might think that I would have given up a long time ago, but no, it only seems to have made me more determined.
These aren't my delphiniums, by the way. Gosh, how I wish they were!
The few survivors in my garden are much more straggly looking than these beauties.
When I consult one of my favourite reference books on the subject of delphiniums, it says, "Hardy and relatively pest and disease free, delphiniums flourish in all of Canada except the Artic."
Great. Now there is a low blow. They apparently flourish everywhere in Canada, but the Artic and MY garden!
Reading on it says,"Planted in groups of three of one color behind medium-height perennials, they give a regal touch to a sunny bed, creating waves of blue, pink or white in a summer breeze."
Regal flowers swaying in the breeze sounds worth a bit of extra effort, doesn't it?
So, where the heck am I going wrong?
My reference advises that delphiniums "like full sun, well drained, but moist rich soil". It continues,"Set out plants in May, making sure that the crowns are at ground level and firming the soil around the roots so no air pockets remain. Keep plants well watered until they are established and use a weak solution of 15-30-15 fertilizer every two weeks through the growing season."
Based on this good advice, I need to pamper my young plants a bit more through their first year.
Still, my biggest problem seems to be something else altogether. I tend to lose my delphinium suddenly and unexpectedly after a few years.
My latest theory on what is behind my lack of success lies in my starting point. I think that I have been setting myself up for failure from the get-go.
You see, I have always relied on Pacific Giants, a series of hybrids developed by a Californian breeder, Frank Reinelt. Pacific Giants were intended to be an improvement on British and European hybrids, which were not robust enough to stand up to the extremes of the North American climate.
Though an improvement on older varieties, Pacific Giants still don't seem to have the might to hold up through the winters in my Ontario garden.
After a little bit of shopping around, I have noted that are other varieties of delphinium available.
So that is the direction that I am headed in next.
If, unlike me, you have had good luck with delphiniums, I would really love to hear words of advice!
P.S. Have a great weekend everyone.
Can you believe that we have snow in the forecast here.
Can you hear the scream in my head? Nooooo....!
The quoted advice in this post comes from Favourite Plants, expert advice on choosing and growing the best plants which is a compilation of articles from Canadian Gardening Magazine edited by Liz Primeau. Published by McArthur & Company, Toronto. It is a great book to pick up should you happen to see it in your local bookstore.