Saturday, June 25, 2011


Columbine or Aquilegia are a wonderful addition to the spring garden.  They tend to be a nice small, dainty flower, when everybody else is large and showy, here-I-am, look-at-me, in-your-face kind of personalities.  I especially like the long-spurred McKanna Giant varieties.  They come in such unique colour combinations.

Two years ago I bought a pot of long spurs, at the end of the season.  There looked to be a couple of plants in the container, so I just stuck them in as is.  Turns out there were actually four different colours and they made quite a contrasting display for a couple of weeks.  So what was accidental one year, I did on purpose several times over this year, and I really like the combos.

Unfortunately there is a little green worm that can attack your columbine plants early in the season, and they will usually strip all the leaves, before you even notice you have a problem.  That happened to one of my clumps this year, and while the plant will probably survive to see another year, it is considerably weakened.

Columbine are a perennial, but a rather short lived one, so you do want to add a few new plants each year, just to keep your population up.  You also might want to keep them deadheaded, as I had an acquaintance tell me that she hated columbines because they self seeded everywhere.  I've never had that issue.  In fact I've found them fairly difficult to establish from seed.  I believe they need to go through a freeze-thaw cycle for reasonable germination rates.

The humble wild Honeysuckle or Columbine

One of my combo plants.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

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