I have grown larkspur this year and have been delighted with the colours that materialized, colours never seen at the wholesalers. Larkspur has always been a favourite of mine. There’s around 40 species in the Consolida genus and is closely related to the Delphinium. It was given the name Consolida (Latin for “ an undetermined plant”) by botanists to differentiate it from delphiniums. While being native to Britain it is rarely found in its wild form, it has been heavily cultivated and new varieties bread for 100’s of years.
The flowers are arranged tightly up a tall slender stem or spike, blossoming gently from the bottom to the tip. The foliage is fine and is sometimes referred to as lacy. The flower spikes can grow up to half a metre. Larkspur is an annual plant that seeds itself freely. It is usually sold in mixed colour packets and the resulting explosion of random colours, white, pinks and lilacs in varying shades, which look are fabulous together.
Larkspur gives great height and structure to a design. Its soft texture works well in summer bouquets. It can be dried and used in winter. Buy fresh larkspur and condition it well. Cut 1-2 cm from the bottom of the stem, strip most of the foliage from the stems and place in deep tepid water with flower food. Leave for at least 48 hrs in a cool environment, this allows the flower spike to rehydrate and start to develop. It’s important to dry the flowers before the petals start to drop. Take the bunch and twist the stems a touch, spreading the flower spikes out a little, so the air can circulate around the spikes. Tie the bunch together and hang upside down in a dry, warm and dark place like the airing cupboard or the attic. It takes a while for the spikes to dry thoroughly depending on temperature. Enjoy.
This next picture is quite frustrating, the purple of the larkspur looks almost blue and it was deep purple. I’ve added it anyway because I love the vibrancy of the clashing colours.
Floristry by Wild & Wondrous, photos by Nicola Hanney (me)