Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Sunset of the Aquilegias

The showy Aquilegia (or Columbine), with its fanciful flowers of all different shapes and sizes, is a great pleasure to keep in a larger yard.  It is fun to keep many different kinds and enjoy the easy multiplication of the plants as they seed themselves around. 

Aquilegia from the Songbird series
My favourites include the large-flowered bright colors of the Songbird series.  These are each named after different songbirds (Bunting, Robin, Skylark, etc.) and a google images search will show all the pretty colors.  These flowers have long straight "tails" behind the faces of the flowers.  My photography didn't quite do them justice this year.  Oh well.

I most often have purchased my Aquilegia seed from this online company in California, who has been quite reliable for my seed purchases for several years.  I suppose I like the bright clear photos and can imagine these plants in my own garden.  If you're really fanatical about finding a particular plant, try Jellito Seeds, the German company.  They don't have the nice photo display of the other website, but if you choose your plants by their Latin names, this is the place for you. 

While gardens in warmer and more southern climates are probably all done with the Aquilegias by now, I still have some in full bloom, especially in the shadier areas.  It is very easy to start these perennials from seed.  Of course, you must be patient as they will only flower in the second year from planting.  I start mine indoors under lights and transplant out in the spring.   

Aquilegia from the "Clementine" series, pink and white flowering plants

Unknown Aquilegia which has spread itself around the flowerbed
 My dwarf-size Aquilegias are mostly done flowering by now.  These pictured ones are more medium sized, nicely suited to sit among the irises, finishing tulips, roses and immature delphiniums of the raised beds.  Actually, hiding dying tulips is a perfect role for Aquilegias.  The timing is just perfect.

This week, the Siberian irises started to flower in beautiful deep purple and white shades.  The old-fashioned bearded irises are long-since finished, so it is nice to see the Siberians now in late June.  The next highlight in the perennial parade will be the lilies in July.   


Lyn said...

Beautiful Aquilegias. I love the Songbird series too. It's so exciting to be sitting at my computer in Australia and seeing what's in bloom in northern Canada.

Northern Shade said...

I saw the blue one of the songbird series a few years ago at the greenhouse, but they were selling them at a fairly high price for an aquilegia. They can probably get away with it, because they are so tempting and beautiful if you sell them in bloom. I should pick up some seeds.

Gardenista said...

Northern Shade...I can't imagine buying many Aquilegia at the garden center. They are so EASY to grow, after all, and seed themselves like weeds outside on their own! I've probably bought one, but it reproduced into another 12 or so plants, so I got my money's worth.