Friday, September 6, 2013

How do I grow Aquilegia

Click on this image to see a slide show of this week's Spec. Load.

I tried 3 Perennials books for a bright and enthusiastic description of Aquilegia (A. x hybrida) and couldn't get better than "Given semi-shade and alkaline soil in a position that never dries out - you can grow old fashioned Columbines to perfection" (Perennials for bed and border, Stirling Macoboy. The Book Company 1983).  "Old fashioned" Hrmphhhh. Although I have to admit Aquilegia canadensis first reached Britain from North America in 1640, so they have been around for a while.

I have always loved the ferny foliage and large intricate flowers and the Songbird Hybrid offers terrific bright colours including a striking blue (Bluebird) that is proving to be just a little shyer than the other colours at this stage. I judged a garden competition in Beaufort once and Aquilegia obviously loves the soil and cold winters out west, I'm sure they had naturalized in many of the gardens growing thickly under the deciduous trees. The colour was stunning and the soft pillows of grey green foliage inviting.  Ideal for the soft natural planting style that we saw at this year's MIFGS.

And, they make great pot plants.

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