What ate my hosta?
Harry Potter and the Horticultural Hogwash

The most gorgeous delphinium in the world!

Delphinium,Alice Artindale. ©GardenPhotos.com (ll rights reserved) While I was over in England recently, I had supper with my old Northamptonshire friends the artist Carry Akroyd and Gordon Monk, the craftsman in wood. And in their garden is the most beautiful delphinium in the world – 'Alice Artindale'.

OK, I would say that, wouldn't I - I gave it to them many many years ago and it's done well in a cosy corner of its own with brick walls behind. In fact Carry has coaxed what is often a difficult plant to grow well into two fat clumps of over forty spikes – not including those cut for the house.

This is an old variety, introduced in 1936 by the Sheffield nursery of William Artindale and Son, where it was spotted by Ted Barker, presumably one of the staff, and named for the boss's wife.

This is where my memory gets hazy because I seem to remember that there were two or three others, with the same flower form, introduced at the same time; I even vaguely remember knowing the names of the others, writing about them long ago and quoting the number of petals in each flower. Sadly, the last resort of looking it up in my own books proves unhelpful.

Two others in the same style, 'Liz Pelling' and 'Susan Edmunds' have been raised more recently and in Britain Hayloft Plants have introduced some, the Highlander Series, which look rather similar. I'm keeping my eye on them on trial at nearby Foxtail-Lilly and am looking forward to seeing them flower. I've just noticed that Mr Fothergill's also have them in Britain. If anyone knows where to get them in North America, please post a comment below.

It would be marvellous to have the same flower form in other colors.