18 July 2023
July is the height of summer with dozens of different blooms to choose from. However, the two official birth flowers for this month are the delphinium or larkspur, and the water lily.
These are flowers that grow on a stalk with easily 20 blooms over the two-foot spike. The name delphinium comes from the Greek delphis, which means dolphin, since the bulb made them think it resembled the dolphin’s snout. Larkspur is the English name because they thought the flower was very like the talon of a lark.
This plant offers over 400 different varieties with many different color variations. It makes a stunning accent to a vase of cut flowers. The larkspur symbolizes joy and cheerfulness as well as positivity especially in communications. Their history includes a theory that they will ward off scorpions and their sting, so it also represents eluding evil spirits and negativity.
If you are thinking of adding delphinium to your garden, choose a spot with full sun, well dtrained soil, and protection from wind. It is difficult to maintain and may require staking and is prone to pests and diseases. They can bloom through the summer and if you prune them properly, will rebloom in the autumn. They need to experience a good cold spell to germinate. You will need to feed them from spring through summer and compost wouldn’t hurt.
Pinch back when the plants reach about six inches in height, but no later or they may not bloom. In the fall, when all blooming has finished, cut back but be sure to leave the basal leaves. Divide the plants in the spring about every four or five years.
Like many other flowers, color of the bloom connotes different sentiments:
- Blue = grace and dignity
- Light blue = success, new life, remembrance
- Purple = beauty
- White = purity
- Pink = romance
It is unlikely that you will receive a bouquet of water lilies for your July birthday but they are a great addition to a water garden found at many parks, botanical gardens, or even backyards.
There are over 70 types of waterlilies in the Nymphaeaceae family, each with a deviation in color or combination. Water lilies root deep in the bed of the pond and send up a solid green pad that then produces a flower that is pristine and almost magical. For this reason the water lily is often associated with enlightenment, birth and resurrection.
If you are inspired to add water lilies to your landscape, there are a few choices. There are some cultivars (varieties) that will survive New York winters with blooms that range in color from red, pinks, to an off white. Some may even change color. If you are willing to put forth a bit of extra effort, you can tap into the exotic beauty of tropical or annual waterlilies. These generally shoot high above the water level and include a pleasant fragrance. The work comes in the fall since you will need to store them for the cold months or just spend a bit more and replace them each spring.
There are other choices for you to explore, but on to myths and meanings. Like so many flowers, color has influenced how we interpret our use. These are fairly typical with white as purity, red for love, and purple for power.
We’ve already mentioned the flower’s symbol of rejuvenation, but some people believe it also represents protection as well as spirituality. In earlier centuries it was used for medicinal purposes to “settle the brain,” easing pain, as a balm for rashes and sunburn.
These are very diverse plants for the July birthday person and either one would make an interesting gift.