Monday, July 27, 2015

Delphinium Show

              Many of you know and grow Delphinium in your gardens. It's a stately, elegant perennial that is a standard in cottage gardens. Mounds of dark green, glossy foliage are adorned with huge spikes of showy, spurred flowers in early summer. Another common name is larkspur, although this name usually refers to annual varieties. This Delphinium Show was held in Regent park, London in this July, and as I have my camera always with me I'd taken photos of these wonderful plants.

Delphiniums grow well in regions with relatively cool and moist summers, and often struggle in hot, dry summer weather. However, some new varieties are more tolerant of heat. Usually plants also dislike sudden wind or rain, but mine is enough hardy to rain and cool weather.
Except for the dwarf perennials, most delphiniums need staking, as you can see on the photos. The plants bloom in late spring to summer, and the flowers are suitable for cutting.

Delphiniums are available in a range of sizes, from dwarf varieties to those with towering. Flower color includes blue, red, white, and yellow; however, the rich, clear blues are especially prized by many gardeners. I think that the white ones are beautiful as well.

Strolling along pretty flowers I've noticed some names of varieties: 'Clifford sky', 'Blue lagoon', 'Cassius', 'Conspicuous', 'Sandpiper'. The last one was white Delphinium. Take a look at these varieties:

I always wanted to have this plant in my garden too, 2 years ago I learned that Delphiniums are very difficult to grow from seed. So I bought a potted plant at the nursery and planted in that spring. Here is my delphinium (sorry, don't know the variety), now its seeds are ripen and I want to sow them in autumn.

Some more pictures of blue and dark blue Delphiniums:

Do you ever grow Delphinium? What is your experience in growing it from seed?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hampstead Pergola

During my last visit in UK I've seen Hampstead Pergola that is essentially a raised walkway, overgrown with vines and exotic flowers. It's a wonderful example of one of London’s hidden treasures. 

Hampstead Pergola is situated near Kenwood house and park, in Northern area of Great London.

I learned the history of the Pergola that goes back to 1904 when Lord Leverhulme, a lover of landscape gardening, purchased a large land “The Hill”, and then he decided to build the Pergola. He wanted it to be a place where his family and friends could spend long summer evenings enjoying the spectacular gardens.

                                                                   "Hamstead Heath" by John Constable, 1836 

To turn this idea into reality Lord Leverhulme enlisted the help of Thomas Mawson, the world famous landscape architect, and construction on the Pergola began in 1905.

One of the main difficulties in building the raised gardens of the Pergola was the amount of material that was needed. 

But luckily for Thomas Mawson the nearby Hampstead extension of the underground Northern Line provided just the solution! Instead of bringing in material, a deal was struck to shuttle the spoil of the underground extension just a few hundred meters to “The Hill”. The Pergola was finished a year later in 1906. 

Later Lord Leverhulme was able to expand his estate, allowing for a further extension to his Pergola in 1911 and in 1925. Unfortunately, after Lord Leverhulme’s death the Pergola went into a slow decline.

Although they said that the sense of faded grandeur is everywhere, and even with the recent restorations the Pergola hasn't lost this unique character I think it's a very romantic and magic place in "the Hill" gardens. When I see the old wooden beams of the roof, columns entwined with vines, roses, clematis, wild grapes I feel the romance of those years when owners and their guests merrily danced, ran, played or just sat and relaxed in raised gardens of the Pergola.

What do you think about old and partly forgotten places like the Pergola?