Dusky Pink and Cream Flowers
|Ray and Rosemary Brock encouraged us
to grow our delphiniums in the garden of their house
'Summerfield' when we lived across the road from them in
Oxted, Surrey. This pink variety first flowered in their
garden and is named after a very kind and lovely lady.
|Our delphiniums with dusky pink
flowers are derived from crosses made over a number of
years, starting with the variety 'Turkish Delight'. An
important contribution came from plants raised from seed
of 'Turkish Delight' x 'Strawberry Fair' purchased from
the Delphinium Society, which introduced deeper colours,
but we also used 'Summer Wine' and 'Royal Flush'.
The seed parent of 'Rosemary Brock' was a
vigorous and tall, pale pink that appeared in seedlings
from a cross between two varieties with violet flowers,
'Emily Hawkins' and 'Gillian Dallas'. The pollen parent
was a line-bred dusky pink seedling that we have kept for
more than 20 years without naming it. The cross gave good
quality delphiniums with dusky pink flowers with the
balance having creamy white flowers. Seed of this cross
was subsequently distributed under the name "Strawberries
'Rosemary Brock' was selected for the
good floret form, neat spike packing and a more compact
growth habit than most of the group. In this respect it
resembles the pollen parent and seldom grows more than 1.6m
tall. It is a prolific producer of basal shoots and is
easy to propagate. It is essential to reduce the number
of stems in order to maintain bloom quality.
An ideal plant for the herbaceous
border, 'Rosemary Brock' can also produce large blooms of
high quality for exhibition, although in recent years it
has been rather eclipsed by the variety 'Lucia Sahin',
which has Rosemary Brock as one parent.
|The name 'Miranda' was chosen with
Miranda, a moon of the planet Uranus explored by Voyager
2, in mind.
|'Summerfield Miranda' shares one
parent in common with 'Rosemary Brock' and the pollen
parent was another mauve-pink seedling resulting from
crossing 'Gillian Dallas' and 'Emily Hawkins'.
This variety is notable for the beautifully
flat, round florets and can produce very long, regularly
packed blooms. It is a tall delphinium, normally growing
to above 2m so needs to be supported with canes and twine.
In sunny weather, the colour bleaches rather badly.
|Diana seemed an approriate name for a
beautiful flower and fits too with the other figures of
Greek mythology whose names are associated with celestial
|The breeding of 'Summerfield Diana'
was along similar lines to that of 'Miranda' and
'Rosemary Brock'. This plant is later flowering compared
to the others and is not quite as tall as Miranda. The
beautifully regular blooms are ideal for exhibition in
|The name 'Sovereign' was chosen simply
as an indicator of the colour, yet without overlapping
with the names of other creamy white varieties like
'Butterball', 'Sungleam' or 'Sunkissed'.
|This variety is included with the
dusky pinks because the majority of these varieties carry
the recessive gene for creamy white flowers and can be
used as parents for cream flowers. This is important
because making crosses between cream-flowered delphiniums
is rarely successful. The problem with using our named
pinks as parents for cream flowers is that all have dark
eyes and yield cream flowers with dark brown eyes that
are less attractive than those with a yellow eye. This
problem was resolved when 'Royal Flush' became available
from Blackmore & Langdon. We have raised many good
delphiniums with cream flowers from 'Royal Flush' x
'Cream Cracker', although most are not particularly
The plant named
'Summerfield Sovereign' was selected from 'Royal Flush' x
'Cream Cracker' seedlings and was named after blooms
included in a show exhibit were deemed worthy of an Award
of Merit for Exhibition. The plant has survived in our
collection for more than ten years and does well in the
herbaceous border but has not been propagated to any
great extent or distributed.
The blooms resemble 'Royal Flush' in
form, having a broad base and being strongly tapered, but
tend to be held aloft on a rather long leafy stem.
Florets are rounded like those of 'Royal Flush' and
sepals are sometimes faulted.