The gem of the Great Plains

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03
The gem of the Great Plains

Delphinium geyeri is still very common around Denver, especially in the hogbacks just West of the city. There are incredible stands near Fort Collins and Boulder as well. For almost a month in June this blazes the most amazing blue color. It is a dryland plant that must grow in sparse prairie grasses, preferably on clay soils and have a relatively dryish summer to really do its thing. It can get 4' or more tall--so rock gardeners may think it's too big...but every rock garden should have a wild garden and meadow nearby!

I have seen much dwarfer forms of this in the Wyoming steppe: sometimes barely a foot tall. Of course that may be environmental. It is not an easy plant to grow in containers and takes several years to reach its full glory.

This is a plant that has established in the Plains Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens. I have two good specimens I keep forgetting to photograph in my Westridge garden...

Just look at that blue....aaaaah! Only a few penstemons and meconopsis can match that piercing color!

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

PK
I like the blues of the Delphiniums a lot. The west has so many to choose from.  I was not familiar with this species. At four foot tall it must stick out like a bright blue beacon for some distance. The shorter populations sound very garden worthy! I'll keep an eye out for seed.

Does this species go dormant in the summer?

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

It's not one of the tuberous kinds like Delphinium nuttallii, bicolor or menziesii. it stays fairly green until midsummer, but does eventually turn yellow and brown (especially in dry years).

Love them larkspurs!

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Log in or register to post comments