Today’s plant obsession is Aquilegia, common name Columbine, though some species are also called Granny’s Bonnet.
We have enough Granny’s Bonnet here at May Dreams Gardens to open up a hat shop, a milliner’s delight of color.
This is mostly due to allowing Aquilegia to self-sow about the garden because at least in this garden, I believe it is a sin to weed out Aquilegia.
As a result, we have this lovely stand of light blue double columbine, probably ‘Blue Tower’, growing where it planted itself in a garden border that currently has no name.
Nearby, a darker blue columbine is sharing space with a hellebore.
Don’t worry, though, columbine and hellebores are both in the same plant family, Ranunculaceae.
It’s funny now, but back in college, when I took a class in plant taxonomy, I never thought much about the Ranunculaceae family. I didn’t think it had much to offer me. Now I’m obsessed, in a good way of course, with several members of its family, including Aquilegia, Helleborus, and Clematis.
These pastel colored columbine may appeal to many gardeners, especially in the spring time.
These are growing in Plopper’s Field, just about ready to be overtaken by some daylilies.
Also growing in Plopper’s Field is this stand of mostly pink Granny’s Bonnets which are probably progeny of Aquilegia ‘Tower Pink’.
Across the way, in the garden border called Woodland Follies, a native columbine is blooming in a little stand of native woodland flowers.
It is probably Aquilegia canadensis.
I’ve always wanted a yellow columbine, and now I have one.
I would have to find the plant tag to know the exact variety, but my guess it is ‘McKana’s Giant’, which are mixed colors, and I just chose a yellow one to plant.
I always keep a look out for interesting Aquilegia at the garden centers. That’s how I found these dwarf columbine.
This spring I found ‘Green Apples’ columbine for sale and bought one to plant somewhere in the garden.
Columbine does have some issues. Leaf miners always disfigure the leaves, though they rarely kill the plant. There is also the problem of columbine sawfly larvae which can skeletonize the leaves overnight. The best method of controlling them is to just pick off the little green caterpillars as soon as you see evidence of them. They are tiny, so you have to look closely to find them.
The only other issue I can think of is that Aquilegia can be addictive. I dare you to try to plant just one.