April 6, 2019 By Nylah Denson In Garden Plants
According to some authorities, the first truly perennial delphinium to arrive in this country was brought from the Pyrenees. Mongolia is given as the source by others. In writings on things horticultural about 1640, mention is made of both single and double forms. Described as a strong-growing perennial of up to 6 feet (1.8 m) high, with pale blue-violet flowers, D. datum is considered to be the primary ancestor of popular hybrids like ‘Swanlake’ and ‘Daily Express’ grown in gardens today.
Most writers on the subject agree to D. datum as one parent, while suggesting by reasoned argument that the other species used in the hybridisation of delphiniums, as grown in modern gardens, are the result of work done initially by the nursery firm of Kelways which began specialist breeding of delphiniums in the mid 1800s. Fifty years or so later Black-more and Langdon, whose name is now virtually synonymous with delphiniums, also took an interest in the subject. American breeders, stimulated by the expressed interest from gardeners in the United States, also began experimental hybridisation, producing several fine varieties with fragrant flowers in the process.
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