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Summerfield Delphiniums 2

Dusky Pink and Cream Flowers

Rosemary Brock Summerfield Miranda Summerfield Diana Summerfield Sovereign

'Rosemary Brock'

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 and Cream".

'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.

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'Summerfield Miranda'

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.

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'Summerfield Diana'

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 objects.
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 late competitions.
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'Summerfield Sovereign'

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 strong growers.

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.

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