|'Oberon', one of the moons of Uranus
visted in 1986 by Voyager 2, gave us the name for this
|'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
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
|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.
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.
|As for 'S. Marjorie' above, this
delphinium is named after the finest dessert plum
|'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.