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Summerfield Delphiniums 3

Purple Flowers

Summerfield Oberon Summerfield Marjorie Summerfield Victoria

'Summerfield Oberon'

'Oberon', one of the moons of Uranus visted in 1986 by Voyager 2, gave us the name for this variety.
'Summerfield Oberon' was selected from the group of seedlings obtained from a cross between two un-named purples. The seed parent, seedling SPG12, was a beautiful deep purple with a white eye obtained by crossing the Blackmore & Langdon purple variety Sentinel with a short-growing pacific hybrid from the original 'King Arthur' seed strain. The pollen parent, EPR9, is a seedling that we raised eighteen years ago and still use regularly in making crosses for delphiniums with purple flowers. Our notes on the first flowers describe it as a purple 'Emily' from the similarity of the flat florets to those of it's parent, 'Emily Hawkins'. The pollen parent was a deep dusky pink related to 'Royal Flush'.

We use dusky pinks in making crosses for purples as this seems to result in brighter colours. A consequence is that crossing 'Summerfield Oberon' with pink varieties yields a proportion of seedlings with pink flowers and also some with creamy white flowers. Florets of 'S. Oberon' occasionally have 'sported' sepals coloured pink and one plant produced a stem with the whole bloom coloured pink.

S. Oberon flowers two to three weeks earlier in the season than most other purple varieties. The colour is then a pure velvety purple but as the flowers age, or later in the season, some blue develops on the sepals. The blooms are regularly packed and tapered but are held on a rather tall stem, as seen in the picture of plants of 'S. Oberon' in the delphinium Trial at the R.H.S. Gardens at Wisley. The bare section of stem below the blooms is a consequence of the failure of sideshoots for secondary flowers to develop, although this does not always happen. The stems are normally slim and tough and fairly resistant to wind damage. Mildew is not usually a problem until after the flowers are over.

A large plant of 'Summerfield Oberon' in full bloom is a spectacular sight in the garden. It was very pleasing to find a photograph of the flowers used for the dust jacket of Graham Rice's book on 'Perennials'.

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'Summerfield Marjorie'

We talk about things being "plum coloured", so this delphinium is called 'Marjorie' after the 'Marjories Seedling' plum tree, which has a deep purple fruit.
'Summerfield Marjorie' was raised from a cross between the exhibitor's favourite purple delphinium,'Bruce', and our dusky pink, 'Rosemary Brock'. This plant can also produce excellent columnar spikes suitable for the showbench but the main reason it has been named is that we often use it in producing hand-pollinated seed for the Delphinium Society.
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'Summerfield Victoria'

As for 'S. Marjorie' above, this delphinium is named after the finest dessert plum variety, 'Victoria'
'Summerfield Victoria' is another plant selected from the seedlings raised from 'Bruce' x 'Rosemary Brock'. It is a brighter purple than 'S. Marjorie' and has broad, tapered blooms, more like those of 'Rosemary Brock' in form than the blooms of 'Bruce' or 'Marjorie'. This variety is also used for producing hand-pollinated seed to yield delphiniums with purple flowers.
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