Flower support is an art form. An enthusiastic gardener can easily go from providing gentle, subtle support to erecting an ugly scaffold. All with the best of intentions.

Delphiniums present a staking challenge. They’re especially tall and the rain-soaked blossoms can snap from their own weight.

To my delight, I’ve been blessed with a vigorous delphinium this year, which is free of disease and loaded with buds. The potential for a major show is at hand. This, despite years of disappointing plants that never seem to persist for more than a year or two.

Up until now, I’d been disdainful of people who wanted to grow delphiniums. “Too fussy,” I’d say. “It only leads to heartache.”

But then, I got a plant from Kathy, who grew it from some special seeds from New Zealand. The thing is amazing. And as it became clear that a delphinium miracle was going to occur in my back yard, I got to work.

My thought was, “I’ve got to get this thing staked. One windstorm or heavy rain and it’ll be ruined. Ruined!” Unfortunately, I went from proactive gardener to overprotective parent. When I got done with all the stakes and string, it was as if I’d made my delphinium wear a helmet.

Delphinium with spiral support

Spiral supports cradle the bloom gently.

My plan is to re-do the support. I’ll use more of the spiral supports and get rid of the bamboo-and-string corral. The Rainbow Spiral Supports can be used to cradle each stem and blossom. Maybe a little string will be necessary, but I’ll use the green jute, which will be subtle.

It all reminds me that flower support is an art form. Done well, it goes unnoticed. All the attention goes to the flower.

As it should be.

David Grist
Online Content Coordinator, Gardener’s Supply