I mentioned last week on Facebook that you’re in for such a treat with this month’s ‘Flower of the Month’ blog post by photographer, Katie Spicer. Well, here’s the post with stunning photos by Katie and gorgeous floral designs by Kate! Over to Katie…
This month’s flower of the month is the delphinium. The very talented and super lovely florist Kate Avery of Kate Avery Flowers created the most amazing displays for me to photograph.
“I wanted to create a piece that would showcase the dramatic elegance of the delphinium. I chose to combine it with other country garden varieties including stocks, larkspur, nigella, clematis, verbena and plectrum to give lots of natural movement. Vintage bottles dug up from the garden, old apple crates and authentic muddy wellies to add that quirky touch. The delphinium pips in bottles just show that you don’t need to have lots of flowers to create a gorgeous table setting.”
“The circlet included delphinium pips, hydrangea florets, verbena, lavender and nigella. Perfect for a summer’s day wedding or to complete a festival look.”
So, if you had one guess where the name delphinium originated from, would you have guessed dolphins? It’s thought to have come from the Greek word for dolphin (delphus) because the unopened flower resembles a dolphin. Although, as ever, there’s an alternative view in history and they’re also said to be named after Delphinium Apollo, the God of the city of Delphi. And they’re also known as Larkspur & Lark’s Heel, because they look like the foot of a lark. I do love all the different origins of plant names and the folklore attached to them.
The delphinium doesn’t disappoint on the interesting uses side either. It was apparently believed to keep witches away from stables in Transylvania, and in Medieval England the root was used in making love potions. I wouldn’t recommend this though as the plant is poisonous. Perhaps this had something to do with why they thought the seed could make you invisible in the Dark Ages…!
I’ve also read in my research that if you look through a bunch of delphiniums on Midsummer’s Eve at the midsummer bonfire, it’s said to cure your eyesight and preserve it until the following year. Will have to wait until next year to check this one out!
Despite it’s toxicity, it does have some uses aside from the ornamental ones. Ground petals of the delphinium mixed with alum make an excellent ink and this was used by settlers in America.
A tincture from the seed (where the alkaloidal properties are found) was apparently used by men in the American Civil War to kill lice & nits in their hair. Who knew?!
They even treated wounds with delphinium in the Battle of Waterloo.
The Himalayan variety D. denudatum is currently being researched as an epilepsy drug, due to the roots anti-seizure properties…yet another useful plant in the battle against disease.
I think it’s such a beautiful plant. Strong and tall, and yet pretty and delicate. And some of those electric blue colours can blow your mind!
Kate has really showcased the delphinium off beautifully with her amazing creations and she even modelled one of the circlets for me. 🙂 Thanks Kate!
(Images : Katie Spicer Photography)