Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August Delphinium Planting

By Thomas Fryd

Specialists will have delphinium seeds available at this time of the year. This will be fresh, viable, hand-pollinated seed harvested from this year's crop of flowers. If you have never tried Delphiniums you should give them a try for some garden color.

To take advantage of their fresh, viable condition, the seeds should be sown immediately when received. Or they can be kept a couple of weeks near the freezing compartment of the refrigerator. To avoid damping-off, or other seed-borne dis-eases, add a pinch of seed protectant fungicide to the packet before sowing. The seeds can be sown directly out in the garden, or better, in seed flats or a cold frame where they can be watched more closely. From ten days to two weeks are required for germination.

The young plants can be protected the first winter with a light straw covering. The plants can then be reset in the spring at spacings of two feet apart. Gardeners will find delphiniums hardy in all sections of the West region. If seeds must be carried over for spring planting, place them in a closed jar and store in a refrigerator. Seeds will not remain alive long if kept at ordinary room temperature.

Besides peace lily spathiphyllum and other lilies, there are other small flowering bulb plants that can be transplanted in August out west. Peace lily care and guide for planting flowering bulbs state various effective ways of transplanting particular plants at a certain time. These include fritillarias, callochortus (Sego lily), and erythroniums. A little yellow-flowered fritillaria, native to the extreme west end of the West region is known as the Yellow Bell. It grows about four inches high and produces small bright yellow flowers.

Another brown and yellow spotted one is called the Leopard Lily. The erythroniums are variously known as Trout Lilies, Glacier Lilies, Adders Tongues and Dogtooth Violets. A yellow-flowered sort is native in the West. Other species are available in a wide range of colors from white to yellow, and pink through to purple.

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