In the Garden Now: Columbines

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Columbine Seedlings
Text and photo by Victoria Gilleland

Columbine are cheerful spring blooming perennials that are” foot loose and fancy free”. The first year or two in the garden you’ll probably have flowers that resemble the one you purchased at the nursery. After that watch out! These little beauties have a way of hybridizing among themselves, so that gardeners end up with additional flowers that little resemble the plants selected for the garden in the first place. Some gardeners might consider this a problem but I consider it a bonus. With Columbine you never know what’s coming your way. A lot like life!

I love the unexpected colors, shapes and forms the flowers and plants take on. They tend to cross pollinate and seed themselves popping up in the most unexpected locations where they thrive.

You’ll often see them tucked in among other perennials and shrubs or on the edge of a path where they greet visitors. The “seedlings” are often the best looking columbine in the garden! I love their laissez faire attitude and determination.

I even like the seed heads. They look like dainty candelabras dancing in the wind …. which of course would remind anyone of Liberace. All these associations…

Columbine start blooming in early spring and continue into summer.  The array of flower colors, flower styles and plant sizes available is amazing.  They come in lovely pastels as well as rich blues, purples and white.   These perennials return reliably and are easy to grow in northwest gardens in full sun to light shade.

Columbine bring a sense of frivolity and fun to any garden they grace. Watch for this colorful spring bloomer in neighborhood gardens.

(Botanical Name:  Aquilegia)

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in  Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.      


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