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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

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Delphinium Highlander Series: New from Hayloft Plants

Posted by Graham Rice on 24 Nov 2010 at 01:01 PM

Delphinium,Highlander,Crystal Delight,Coakley. Image ©Tony Coakley.Since I first heard about these delphiniums three or four years ago, I’ve been waiting – not so very patiently – for them to become available. And now they are. And there are four things which make these impressive Highlander delphiniums stand out.

First, it’s the unusually frilly double flowers, each with between 45 and 58 petals and lightly ruffled and dissected at the tips. Each individual flower is about 21/4in across and between 41 and 53 are carried in each spike. And they're sterile, so the individual florets last longer than those of normal delphiniums.

Then there’s the unusual colours, you can see for yourself that these are not the colours of standard delphiniums.Delphinium,Highlander,Blueberry Pie,Coakley. Image ©Tony Coakley.

They’re tough too, raised in Glasgow by delphinium enthusiast Tony Coakley they can take harsher conditions than many varieties and will take winters down to -20C/-4F. And the plants are bold and vigorous. I’m not convinced that they will only grow to the 60cm mentioned in the Hayloft Plants catalogue, they grow over 1m in their first year and look to me to be just a little shorter than normal delphiniums.

Three varieties are now being introduced for the first time. ‘Blueberry Pie’ (above right, click to enlarge), ‘Crystal Delight’ (top, click to enlarge) and ‘Morning Sunrise’ (below, click to enlarge). ‘Blueberry Pie’ is deep lilac in colour with a green centre and a blue tint to the rear petals, ‘Crystal Delight’ is pale lilac with green centre and is the frilliest of the three while ‘Morning Sunrise’ is white with a green centre. All three are good for sunny well drained borders and also for cutting.

Delphinium,Highlander,Morning Sunrise,Coakley. Image ©Tony Coakley.Tony Coakley began growing delphiniums nearly thirty years ago and his rigorous selection process, choosing only the very best and the very toughest, has finally led to the introduction of the Highlander Series. And unlike most delphiniums, these have been propagated in the laboratory using tissue culture – the only way it is possible to produce enough plants to meet the demand.

The Highlander delphiniums are available separately or in a collection from Hayloft Plants.

Find out more about how Tony Coakley got started with delphiniums.

Images © Tony Coakley.


Floraselect said:


We Also Sell these Plants in 3Litre pots over at

on 05 Sep 2011 at 04:52 PM