Flower of the month

As I am sure you aware, just as there are certain planets and birthstones associated with specific months, there are also particular flowers - you can find a list on our website; click here to be taken to it.

This month it's the turn of the Delphinium, the name of which derives from the latin word for Dolphin (there is also a star constellation names Delphinus which can be seen by the naked eye in the western hemisphere (not sure about the southern hemisphere).

The delphinium flower is one of my personal favourites. One of my great aunts lived in a small cottage on the outskirts of Berkshire where she kept and tended a traditional cottage style garden. Her back stone and flint wall would disappear from view  at this time of year, due to the array of magnificent delphinium she would grow. She had them in so many different colours and sizes. From blue and purple, to pink and pale mauve - proper delphinium too, not the larkspur variety, which is also part of the same family (Larkspur is great for drying and pot-pourri but the worst flower to put in a vase, as the petals drop everywhere no matter how fresh they are!!) My aunt had Delphinium with a black centre, yellow centre and even one with a green centre. How she kept the slugs from devouring them I will never know - she swore she never needed to use slug pellets or any kind of chemicals to keep them at bay; I'm not entirely convinced. I remember one year a particular blue variety grew to be over 5ft tall; it was phenomenal. A striking bright royal blue colour with flower heads lower down the stem almost as big as a carnation.

As a cut flower we aren't able to purchase a wide variety, mainly just the smaller blue - volkerfrieden being the most popular; a perfect royal blue colour. The wholesalers this week have had a white and lavender, both of which they have given no name for so I can't tell you what variety. However, aside from the blue I have mentioned and another called butterfly (also blue) the delphinium we receive are about 30 inches from bottom to top with the flowers themselves ranging from the size of a 50p piece, to a 5p piece. As beautiful as they are the flower sections are often to heavy for the hollow stems and they can snap in half very easily - this is why, if I can avoid using other colours in weddings, I will.

According to Wikipedia they belong to the Ranunculae family which is made up of over 300 different species. "All members of the 'Delphinium' genus are toxic to humans and livestock" That sounds about right; anything so beautiful would have to have a fault somewhere! I've happily cut these flowers and used them in many an order over the years without any kind of issue, however, I'd advise you always wash your hands thoroughly after you've handled them and never ingest them in any way - please seek medical advice immediately if you do ingest any part of them (flower, sap, leaves).


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