Moulton Seas End delphinium grower nearing end of harvest

Vilija Navickiene crops and loads some of the last delphiniums left in the fields. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG130614-105TW
Vilija Navickiene crops and loads some of the last delphiniums left in the fields. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG130614-105TW

Longest day is now over and so the delphinium harvest should just about be completed for K W Naylor & Son at Moulton Seas End.

The business, one of the biggest delphinium growers in the UK – if not the largest, at ten hectares – has learned a few tricks to extend the season during almost 20 years of growing the plant.

Matthew Naylor – he looks after marketing while his father Nev is the senior partner in the business and Chris Edgeley is production manager, looking after agronomy – says the flowers are sold to a number of different customers, but most end up in supermarkets.

He said: “It’s something we started when I joined the business in the late 1990s, so we have been growing them for nearly 20 years. We have always tried new varieties of flowers and looked for something a little bit out of the ordinary and we have gradually expanded it every year.”

It’s a perennial so comes up each year, the farm carrying out regular re-planting with smaller root masses.

Although it’s a specialist plant, Matthew says producing delphiniums has become easier with experience.

He said: “We have had our mishaps. We have learned how to handle them by doing it incorrectly. We do have some in the pack house and a couple of production lines that allow us to grade them, but they are harvested by hand.

“They are more time-consuming than other flower types, but they are well suited to our soil type and we have the experience to cope with certain weather conditions.”

Indoor grown delphiniums get the season off to an early start in May and the farm can be cropping for three or four months, depending on the year .

The farm also grows potatoes and a range of cut flowers and flowering bulbs that are also packed in-house.