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PPP Offering for Fall 2004 A Rare California Delphinium

Articles: PPP Offering for Fall 2004 A Rare California Delphinium

Delphinium luteum in a container in the Fleming garden (see page 28). Photograph by Saxon Holt
“Delphiniums are the first plants to come to mind when we think of traditional perennial gardens. Few serious gardeners forgo the pleasure of growing them, despite the wide range of problems attendant in their culture.”
Clause and Ekstrom, Perennials for American Gardens

Delphiniums may be among the most traditional of perennial garden plants in the midwestern and eastern United States, but on the West Coast, hybrid delphiniums probably don’t make it onto the list of top ten perennials. Although popular in the Pacific Northwest, their preference for rich soils, regular watering, and staking render delphiniums too fussy for most gardeners to bother. Instead, delphinium devotees purchase long-stemmed bunches for flower arranging and leave the cultivation to professional growers.

For West Coast gardeners, however, a world of California native delphiniums awaits discovery. According to The Jepson Manual, twenty-eight species and forty-five taxa are found within the state, yet surprisingly few are grown commerciall...

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