Aquilegia, commonly known as Columbine, is a very hardy perennial, related to the buttercup. They do best in a cool-winter climate, in partial shade. That describes much of my garden, so I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to plant some. Anyway I’m thrilled with the first flowers on what was a tiny tube stock specimen just a few months ago. Here they are!
My first Columbines
This plant has done so well, I’ll definitely be putting in more.
The flowers are very dainty, and come in lovely colours, often with two tones, common combinations being blue and purple, as well as red, yellow, and white.
Some varieties bloom through much of late spring and summer, others are short-flowering. The flowers are interesting because they have long, slender spurs behind the pretty façade. The name Aquilegia comes from the Latin word aquila, meaning eagle, because the spurs resemble an eagle’s talons.
The nectar is apparently very sweet and the flowers can be used as a pretty edible garnish.
Aquilegia species are clump-forming perennials with fine-stemmed, often blue-green foliage that emerges from a woody rootstock. They can self-sow and have the potential to become invasive in some areas.
These sweet plants are perfect for cottage gardens. I’m looking forward to them popping up next spring, in amongst the other self-sown lovelies, in my little patch of early springtime meadow garden.
Do Columbines grow in your part of the world? Are they invasive?
If you’re in the central west of NSW, please let me know if you’re growing them!