• Katy Gardener

Divine delphiniums

Updated: Apr 20

Delphiniums are one of my all-time favourites. I love their height and their delicate and generous flowers. They stand tall and resplendent in gardens, and their firework-like spray of flowers look brilliant in flower arrangements. My favourites are with pale blue or pale pink flowers which I find so romantic, but I love them all.


Pale blue and white delphiniums at my wedding last year

Delphiniums were a key component to my wedding flowers, so I will always hold a special place for them and it’s in part why I used them as the central flower for arrangements I made for Bertie’s christening. It was on the 1st September and it felt like the last hot day of the summer, so it was fitting to use such glorious summer flowers.



Getting ready for the christening. We went from this...

To this! The christening feast with the delphinium table arrangement

Ingredients


Structural

  • Long plastic trays

  • Oasis

  • Tape

Flowers

  • Pale blue delphiniums

  • White roses

  • Pink lisianthus

  • Wax flower

  • Thlaspi Green Bell

  • Eucalyptus sprigs

  • Foliage from the garden

Method

  • Soak the oasis in cold water

  • Add three soaked oasis cubes to each tray and secure tightly with tape. Don’t be afraid for the tape to dig into the oasis to make it extra secure

  • Start the arrangement by building up the foliage at the base of the tray and gradually work your way up to the top. Make sure that the sprigs of foliage go off in all directions as if the arrangement was growing in nature. Keep adding foliage until there is no green oasis visible

  • Start filling in the flowers. I started with the wax flower and Thlaspi Green bell, and then moved onto the pink lisanthus, the roses and ended on the delphiniums. I kept the height of the delphiniums but kept everything else short to medium in length as I wanted people to be able to talk across the table and see one another.

  • There is no need for there to be complete symmetry as I think it looks more natural this way, so don’t over think where everything should be positioned, just go with a gut feeling.

  • When you’re finished spray with cold water and keep in a cool dark place until the guests arrive.


A close up at the end of the day, with some left over custard tarts made by my Mum.

And here they are back in the house after the party was over

I bought all Bertie’s christening flowers from a wholesale flower market, but you can grow delphiniums yourself either from seeds or seedlings. They are magnificent in flower beds and as cutting flowers so here are some tips.


How to grow Delphiniums


First off, take a look at this brilliant article by Sarah Raven for advice and inspiration.

For a quick read, here’s what you should do:


Planting out delphiniums

  • Choose an area of your garden in full sun or dappled shade, with well-drained soil. If delphiniums sit in wet soil over the winter they can die, so make sure you add plenty of grit to the soil before you plant.

  • Make sure the chosen spot is sheltered, as they don’t cope well in blustery winds.

  • When planting, ensure that the top of the root is level with the soil. Add plant food such as Blood, Fish and Bone.

  • Delphiniums need sturdy staking with canes to keep their hollow stems upright. Do this in early spring or when the shoots are above 30cm.


Caring for delphiniums

  • Slugs love munching on delphinium shoots so use use a slug killer early on to protect your plants.

  • Prevent mildew growing by thinning out shoots to increase the air circulation. Thin out shoots emerging from crowns early in the season to increase air circulation

  • Feed these greedy plants regularly with plant food, and water weekly or more if it is a particularly hot summer.

  • Deadhead browning flowers to small, flowering side shoots.

  • After the initial flowering in early summer, cut the plants to the ground, and you will get a second flush of flowers in August and September.


My week

The week was taken up by planning and hosting Bertie’s christening for 30 people. Jack thankfully was responsible for all the cooking which was delicious, but I had underestimated how much hard work it is to host so many people! Luckily the day was a great success. We had our families and bestest friends around us, we had a very smiley son and a gorgeous sunny day, so it couldn’t have gone better!


Baby Albert

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