The woodlanders were getting restless. It had been about six weeks since our little volunteer group had gone out to work on tidying the woods, and everything has exploded into abundant growth, so with a little nudging from the troops we collectively discussed and then decided to head out on a weekday morning, thus avoiding our usual weekend work sessions as these days the circus is far too busy with stir-crazy parents and young children zooming around on their bicycles and scooters. Too busy for safe gardening in these quiet corona-apocalypse days. It was fairly busy today too, with plenty of pedestrians walking through, but still quieter than the weekends, and we got an hour’s work in before the heavens opened.
A patch of particular beauty this year is the wild columbine growing at the back end of the meadow area. The horticultural name of these beauties is ‘aquilegia vulgaris‘, and they are also known as ‘granny’s bonnets.’
Columbine are loved by bees and other pollinators, and seem to have really taken a liking to their location. A smaller patch self-seeded along the path. This is the best year of bloom I’ve ever seen in the woods.
We also have a small clump of darker purple flowering columbine in the back patch (tucked in behind the towering form of our artichoke plants).
Aquilegia are clump-forming herbaceous perennials with long-stalked, ternately divided basal leaves and erect, leafy stems bearing bell-shaped flowers with spreading, coloured sepals and petals with spurs, on branched stems.
Aquilegia vulgaris, the wild species is usually blue, with nodding “bonnets”, but many purple, mauve, pink and white colour variants have developed in gardens during its long history in cultivation . (RHS Plants ‘Aquilegia Vulgaris’)