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Summerfield Delphiniums 4

White Flowers

Lilian Bassett Summerfield Ariane Blackberry Ice

'Lilian Bassett'

'Lilian Bassett' was selected from seedlings raised in 1980 from 'Emily Hawkins' x un-named Seedling (DXB1, a short-growing seedling having pale blue flowers with a light brown eye). 'Lilian Bassett' inherited the short growth habit and makes an excellent border plant. After the main spikes have finished, the display is prolonged by a plentiful supply of flowers on sideshoots.

The blooms are unsuitable for exhibition being quite short (0.5m) and often having blunt tops.

A weakness is that the stems are usually not stiff enough to support the flowers when wet with rain. At ground-level, stems tend to grow horizontally before turning upwards so they need supporting with twiggy sticks or canes and twine. The base of stems and the crown are usually hard and we find the plants survive for many years.

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'Summerfield Ariane'

The name 'Ariane' was selected with the European Space Agency launch rocket, Ariane, in mind.
'Summerfield Ariane' was raised from a cross between the fascinating variety 'Spindrift', which has greenish tinges in a mainly blue flower with a white eye, and an un-named seedling. The latter had a very prominent white eye on blue and lavender flowers. As 'Spindrift' itself was raised from white varieties, the appearance of a seedling with white flowers from a cross between two blue flowers is to be expected, so long as the other parent also carries the recessive gene for white flowers.

This particular seedling was named and propagated because it provided exceptionally early flowers of good quality over a number of years. It is of medium height, rarely being more than 1.8m tall. A group of plants makes a fine display in a border almost a month before the peak of the delphinium flowering season. The plants also readily provide a good second crop of flowers in the autumn.

Floret quality is good when the bloom is fresh but as a bloom ages the appearance of basal florets is spoiled by the sepals becoming quilled. The eye tends to be very open-centered, as is characteristic of many 'Spindrift' seedlings.

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'Blackberry Ice'

The name 'Blackberry Ice' was chosen to reflect the unusual mixture of pink and mauve staining of the white sepals which also have pronounced dark veining on the back of the flower.

Blackberry Ice is a 'fun' plant chosen purely on the basis of floret colour but it can produce large, if rather loosely built spikes on a short basal leaf stalk.

A sister plant produces blooms of better form, as seen in the right hand picture. The flowers are also a pink-tinted white but have none of the dark staining in the centre of the flower. The sepals of both plants are rather thick and like parchment.

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