• Alison Murray

Things to do in the garden during lockdown day 33: appreciate the aquilegias

Aquilegia or columbine are late spring bloomers that fill in the gap between spring bulbs and early summer flowers. Think of a colour combination and this plant does it.

Purple Aquilegia vulgaris is the wild type, and there are no end of hybrids with a huge range of colour variations. They outer petals are in facts coloured sepals (the outer coverings that normally protect petals when in bud) and some have spurs which point backwards. They are relatively short lived perennials particularly some of the hybrids, but they flower for about a month, seed really easily and are easy to grow. Aquilegia prefer semi shade, but are really unfussy about conditions and very drought tolerant. What's not to like?

It is my birthday today so I thought I would show you some of the aquilegia in my garden. I didn't plant any of these, but this year I am going to loop some ribbon around the ones I like and plant the seeds. I already have seeds of Aquilegia vulgaris 'Yellow' from Hardy's Plants on the go, which were a birthday present last year. My favourite is probably 'Colorado', a purple and white single a bit like 'William Guinness' but I have yet to find seeds of this. I also love 'Blue Star' which I have in a shady west facing border, so it will probably flower mid May.

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