Aquilegia Vulgaris (aka Granny’s Bonnets)


Columbine in bloom (1 May 2020). Photo by G.

Aquilegia are also known as ‘Columbine’ and sometimes (though more rarely) called ‘granny’s bonnets’ or ‘American bluebells.’

The flowers are often dark purple, but we have a paler pink flowering type that grows in the meadow area of the woods.

There’s a very dark purple flowering columbine in the back patch too, but that one grows much shorter than these tall growing pale pink flowering ones.

They came into bloom in the last week of April 2020.

Grow in fertile, moist but well-drained soil, in full sun or partial shade.

Columbine are propagated by seed, which is best sown in spring or late summer/early autumn.


Blue columbine in back patch (April 2020)

At maturity these plants can grow from 1/2 to a full metre in height (such as the patch in the woods meadow), and these are wonderful flowers to include in informal cottage gardens (interplanted with delphinium, hollyhock and the like), or used to underplant roses and shrubs.

Deadhead after flowering (though you may wish to leave some flower heads to dry, mature and set seed, which if happily situated will self-seed into your garden beds.

Columbine are sometimes attacked by aphid infestations, and can also be susceptible to powdery mildew.


Ornamental columbine in back patch (12 May 2020).


Columbine in flower (1 May 2020). Photo by G.