You Can’t Plant Flowers If You Haven’t Botany

This clever play on words has a message that rings true.

If your garden is lacking color, it's time to increase your plant diversity and go shopping.

And luckily, thanks to so many nurseries, we shop for plants safely outside.


Garden Color


Now, in terms of color, what gardener doesn't appreciate stunning blue blossoms? 

Blue is so seldom seen in the garden which is why it is so coveted.

As a new gardener - a station I held for 20 years - I could easily be persuaded to set my plant budget aside in order to buy royal blue lobelia. And, if the garden center had the pale blue variety, I would buy them all.

Whatever they had left.

And, they still have my heart.




As for tall blue blossoms, do you grow delphiniums in your garden?

I used to start every summer by planting twenty young delphiniums in front of my porch - right in the corner under the spot where I hung the American flag.

The combination of the porch with its white picket railing, the little flower garden (no edibles back then), and the flag made me feel like I was living in a Charles Wysocki print.



And by the time the red lilies were popping, the delphinium would be 4 feet tall.

In that same area, I had planted white astilbe and alyssum which meant I had a little red, white, and blue garden under my American flag - just in time for the 4th of July. It was a patriotic vision.



Now, let me share with you some secret truths about delphinium that you may not hear from other gardeners.

First, you need to think of delphiniums as annuals.

For most of us, they are tender and finicky. My loss rate was always around 80% every spring.

However, I did just read a piece by a fellow who found truly hardy varieties in Germany. Somehow they haven’t found their way to market here and I'm not willing to travel overseas to source my delphinium.

The second truth about delphinium is that gardeners exaggerate about them the same way fishermen do with fish; somehow all THEIR delphinium are over 6 feet tall.

Yeah… right. I am actually 6 feet tall and my delphinium have never made me look up at them or bothered to look me in the eye. It’s just not going to happen.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s show, the Delphinium is one of the recognized birth flowers for July. It's also known as 'Larkspur' and 'Knight's-spur.'

During the Victorian age, when people used flowers the way we use emojis, the delphinium symbolized lightness and an open heart.

If you're a delphinium lover, it's easy to see how the happy delphinium blooms would be associated with happiness and laughter. Given the bleakness of 2020, we could probably all use more delphinium.

Now, if you are a shade-gardener, I wanted to encourage this week to multiply your Solomon Seal through division.

It’s really so easy to divide them and Solomon Seal is simply the best. (Thanks Solomon!)

All you need to do is split the large white tubers that grow underground. Make sure that each piece you divide has at least one big tuber.

If you want to plant them in drifts (um… yes!), use small pieces and plant them close together; instead of using one large mass. You'll have a beautiful planting of Solomon Seal in no time.

As featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

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