July 12, 2010
Why You Should Stake Delphiniums
I never got around to staking my 'Pagan Purple' delphiniums this year. I was kind of hoping that since they're overcrowded in a bed with a large lilac shrub that they'd all kind of hold each other up. Apparently I was wrong.
Here is a picture of one of my backyard flower beds taken a couple of days ago. You can see Campanula 'Pearl Blue' down low, a crimson 'William Shakespeare 2000' english rose shrub, violet 'Caradonna' salvia, and the giant 'Pagan Purple' delphs. The tallest ones are over six feet (two meters) tall.
Here is the same view from this afternoon. We've had a very windy day today. Even the rose has flopped over. Its stems should get stronger with a few more years of growth, so I'll not worry about staking it. But I definitely need to remove a few of the delphs and stake the ones that are left for next year.
This is a pretty shot, despite the fact that the delph stalks are pointing the wrong direction. In the background are bleeding heart foliage and 'Lime Rickey' heucheras. I love lime green and deep violet-blue together.
If I didn't love their flowers so much, I'd never put up with all the work needed to grow good delphiniums. They need rich, moist soil. They need extra stalks removed in early spring so the clump doesn't become too congested (I didn't do that either this year, oops). And staking, of course.
The good news is that you don't have to feel guilty about chopping off a ton of flowers to fill up a vase when the stalks are already laying on the ground. Do you notice how the vase looks like it's leaning? The wind knocked it over a couple of seconds after I took this shot. Nothing broke, though, and I put the flowers in a bigger vase.
I also cut some of the crimson roses and put them in a vase with delphs to give to a friend. These are some seriously pretty flowers! Although the delphiniums don't smell, the 'William Shakespeare 2000' roses have a very strong, romantic scent.
At least I caught a shot of the bed before the wind trashed it. Live and learn.