Columbine / Aquilegia

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’ (syn. Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata ‘Nora Barlow’) – This RHS Award of Garden Merit winner has been in cultivation since the 17th century when it was known as the ‘Rose Columbine’. It features an eye-catching combination of round double pompom blooms of deep rose, pink and green from May to June. Grows 24 to 30″ high. Zone 3.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘William Guinness’ (syn. ‘Magpie’) – This cottage garden favourite features traditional Aquilegia vulgaris flowers in the unusual shades of deep maroon-purple and white, with a hint of golden stamens at the center. It blooms May to June over fern-like mid-green foliage. Attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds. Grows 18 to 24″ high. Zone 3.

Aquilegia alpina – Another old garden plant which has been grown in American gardens since the 1800’s. This native of the Alps bears clusters of 2 to 3 large bright blue flowers  from May to June. This species can be short-lived but readily self-seeds, just make sure no other Columbines are around to cross-pollinate with it. Grows 18 to 24″ high by 12″ wide. Hardy to zone 3.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Winky Double Red-White’ (syn. Aquilegia x caerulea ‘Winky Double Red and White’) – A floriferous Columbine with erect, upward facing blooms of double deep red and white, heavily clustered above the foliage. This plant does best in part to full sun in coastal BC and dislikes poorly drained soils. Attracts hummingbirds. Grows 12-18″ high by 12-14″ wide. Zone 3.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Black Barlow’ (syn. Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata ‘Black Barlow’) – A good choice for a Gothic Garden with deep purple-black spherical double blooms that much resemble a tiny cactus dahlia – these are borne over grey-green fern-like foliage. Simply trim and discard any foliage affected by leaf miner. Deer resistant. Grows 24-30″ high by 16″ wide. Zone 3.

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