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Granny's Bonnet – not just for old dears.
Aquilegia bertolonii is commonly known as Bertoloni columbine. It grows in pretty clumps and will fit in with many garden designs. From a rockery to a woodland, this plant will look at home. The leaves are a dark green and the flowers are a rich purple. Not as showy as some of the other aquilegia varieties, this understated beauty will grow up to 30cm tall. Like other aquilegias this will bring butterflies and insects to your garden. Plant in a sunny or slightly shaded spot, and be careful not to over water it. Other than watching your watering, this is a plant that is easy to grow and doesn't require a great deal of tending to.
- No, neutral please
- Early spring
- Mid spring
- Late spring
- Early summer
- Yes, let it smell
- -34 - -12
- 0 - 90
- well-drained but frequently watered
- Full sun
- Partial shade
- Flowers & bulbs
- Wild flowers
- Attractive Flowers
- For Beginners
- Roses & classics
- Author's choice
- Cottage garden
- Rock garden
- Flower beds
- 2 to 5 years
Aquilegia is commonly known as Columbine. Aquliegia comes from the Latin aquila that means eagle, due to the claw shape of the petals of the flower. Columbine comes from the Latin word for dove as the flowers also look like a flock of five doves huddled together. There are varieties of Columbine with many different coloured flowers. They tend to grow in clumps and will attract butterflies and moths to your garden too. Native Americans were known to eat the flower as a condiment, however the seeds and roots are highly poisonous.
All Aquilegias are pretty, but the Aquilegia 'Crimson Star' or Columbine 'Crimson Star' stands out from the crowd with a layer of red petals, and an inner layer of white petals tinged with pink that reach forward from the red petals. Yellow stamen burst forth from the centre to add to the effect. The flowers dangle like a pendant from the top of the stalk. It grows an abundance of flower heads on many offshoot branches. It will attract butterflies, but animals set on eating the plants in your garden will usually avoid it, opting for a tastier treat to nibble on.
Aquilegia 'Dragonfly' or Columbine 'Dragonfly' flowers come in many colours. They may be yellow, white, pink red or lilac. The flowers are particularly attractive with an inner ring of petals, usually white, and an outer ring of coloured petals that bend backwards away from the inner petals making the flowers look rather like an exotic butterfly, or a fairy even! They will look lovely in a cottage garden, or if you have a wild patch in your garden, sow some seeds there to attract butterflies and bees as well as adding extra beauty to your wild spot.
Aquilegia 'Hensol Harebell' or Columbine 'Hensol Harebell' is a very pretty columbine with attractive violet bell-shaped flowers about 5cm wide that hang from tall thin stems that grow to around 90cm tall. It's a bushy plant and will benefit from pruning after it has flowered. Pruning will encourage further growth and you'll have even more beautiful flowers the next year. It does attract aphids so you may want in invest in a good insecticide; it can also be prone to powdery mildews.
Aquilegia 'McKana Hybrid' or Columbine 'McKana Hybrid' is one of the most attractive columbines. The flowers are so many different colours and are often bi-coloured. From pinks and yellows to blue, white and purple, all on the same plant. If you love colour, this is the ideal addition to your garden. Everything about this plant is exquisite. The leaves are delicate and fern-like, The flowers have a fairy-like quality to them with spurs of petals reaching out like wings, and pretty cup shaped inner petals, usually of a contrasting colour.
Aquilegia 'Mrs Scott-Elliot' hybrids are a vigorous collection of hybrids in a wide range of colours, from reds and yellows to blues and whites. They're hardy and easy to grow. They like a sunny spot or partial shade, and well-drained but moist soil. They'll bring butterflies to your garden and the bees love them too. With the nodding blooms and the array of colours, they're a great way to add some interest to your garden.
Aquilegia alpina or Alpine columbine is a tiny compact aquilegia that packs a lot of colour into a small space in your garden, so if you have limited space, it's the perfect choice for making the best of your garden. The leaves are a blue-green colour and the flowers are a bright blue-purple., hanging from purple stems. Aquilegia alpina works well in a rockery, perfect for adding some colour. It's a low maintenance plant and will thrive in full sun or partial shade. It doesn't like to be over-watered, so make sure you plant in an area of the garden that is well-drained. It will flower from late spring well into the early summer.
Aquilegia caerulea is commonly known as Colorado blue columbine. Each stem will carry a cluster of hanging flower heads in a pretty dark purple colour with a white trumpet shaped inner section. You'll get between five and ten blooms on each stem, so although each flower head is fairly small, together they give a big impact. They look lovely in borders and work very well in an informal cottage garden. They tend to only live a couple of years though, so you might have to replace it after two or three years.
Aquilegia chrysantha is also known as Yellow Columbine. This is a real stunner with bright yellow petals. Many aquilegias are two colours but this one is pure gold throughout making it really stand out in the garden. It's a really cheery plant that can't help but make you smile. With it's delicate petals and abundance of flower heads that blow gently in a breeze, you can easily imagine you have fairies dancing in your garden. A really magical addition to a cottage garden. Perfect for brightening up a dull part of the garden and adding colour.
Aquilegia chrysantha 'Yellow Queen' is also known as Granny's bonnet 'Yellow Queen' and is a lovely cottage garden plant with pale yellow flowers that have a highly attractive shape to them. The long thin spurs reach out behind the inner petals giving the plant a very delicate look. If you want to attract bees to your garden this is a really good choice. Butterflies and moths will love it too. Perfect for an informal planting design. This variety is also very fragrant.
Aquilegia flabellata or fan leaved columbine is easy to grow and requires very little in the way of maintenance. Native to east Asia and Japan, this variety grows to around 30cm high. It has lobed fan shaped leaves that have a tinge of blue to them. and the flowers are purple with white tipped petals. The flowers are less delicate and more chunky than other aquilegias so won't get lost in a busy garden design. It isn't very tall growing, so works well in a rock garden. It will attract butterflies and bees to your garden
Aquilegia flabellata var. pumila 'Atlantis' or Dwarf fan-shaped columbine 'Atlantis' is a small and pretty aquilegia. It has a more modest subtle look to it than some of the gaudier aquilegias, with a wild flower look about it, making it perfect for a natural garden. The leaves are also very attractive with deep lobes. The flowers are a pretty sky blue with a small ring of white petals in the centre. It will attract butterflies and bees too. It will die back in winter but will usually come back in the spring.
Aquilegia formosa is also known as Western columbine or Crimson columbine. This is a stunning example of an aqueligia that will certainly add impact your garden. The flowers are a very unusual shape, you could easily imagine this variety growing on an alien planet. The magnificent blooms are a gorgeous blend of reds, orange and bright yellow. The yellow anthers protrude from the blooms and the spurs of red/orange petals reach up from the back of the hanging flower head, like a little rocket blasting off into space. If you want to add impact to your garden without choosing a plant that grows too massive, then this would be perfect. Its' looks are so unique it would work well in any garden setting.
Aquilegia viridiflora is commonly known as Green-flowered columbine is a little different from other aquilegias. The petals are not the bright gaudy colours of many other aquilegias, but instead are a more subtle purple brown and cream colour. The flowers are a pretty shape giving the plant a graceful look. If you love the look of aquilegias, but prefer more muted colours then this is the perfect aquilegia for you. It would be well suited to a cottage garden or a rockery. They are easy to grow and low maintenance so are great for beginners to gardening.
Aquilegia viridiflora 'Chocolate Soldier' is also known as Columbine 'Chocolate Soldier'. Spurred chocolate coloured blooms dangle gracefully from the end of smooth curved stems. These blooms have such unusual colouring for an aqueligia, they are a popular choice for anyone who wants more subtle colours in their garden, while keeping the delicate shapes offered by the aquilegia family of plants. They'll grow well in all soil types as long as it is well-drained. Cut the foliage down to ground level when it has finished flowering.
Aquilegia vulgaris is also known by the names European columbine and Granny's nightcap. This variety grows in clumps and has a showy array of pretty flowers with hooked spurs in a range of colours; pink, purple, blue and white depending on the cultivar. Some types of aquilegia vulgaris flower heads grow upright, while others hang from the stalk like a pendant. A traditional plant that adds charm and character to a cottage style garden; best suited to informal planting garden designs.
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Altrosa' is also called Columbine 'Altrosa'. It's a delicate dark pink flower that hangs from a pink stem. It's very hardy and will grow in just about any type of soil as long as it isn't especially dry or wet. It requires very little maintenance; the perfect beginners plant. It likes to be grown in full sun. Prune it right back after it has flowered. It self-seeds easily so great if you want more plants to grow. If you don't then simply snip off the flower heads before they go to seed. Being hardy and tolerant of exposed locations, it's the perfect plant for a troublesome area of the garden where other plants don't thrive.
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Miss M. I. Huish' is named after Miss M I Huish, a specialist in aquilegias. This is a very striking plant with rich dark purple blooms that have a yellow centre. The flowers don't have the delicate spurs associated with aquilegias, but they do have a multitude of petal layers giving a full, fluffy effect. The flowers grow in clusters and are resistant to slugs and other creatures that like to nibble on your plants. They'll grow in just about any soil conditions, in full sun or partial shade.