90529Colorado is another state that was able to designate one of the most excellent wildflowers of North America as the Official State Flower because it happens to be native there. Rocky Mountain columbine, Aquilegia caerulea, however, did not contribute as much to the breeding of the many modern hybrid varieties of columbine as did common European columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris.

Most are short term perennials that are more often grown as biennials or, if they do not continue to perform through the dry warmth of summer, as spring annuals. Seed can be sown directly earlier in spring, but new plants may not bloom until the following spring. Plants that are grown in a greenhouse through winter, as well as self sown plants that grow though winter, should bloom in spring.

The famously spurred flowers can be just about any color; white, blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, pink and even pale green (fading to white). Most are combinations of two colors. Some varieties proudly bloom with frilly double flowers. The thin flower stems stand about a foot tall, with flowers facing slightly downward. The trifoliate and delightfully lobed leaves are like big lacy clover leaves.

4 thoughts on “Columbine

  1. I also have a few columbine growing in my garden wild from various seeds in the neighbourhood in various colours. I will never forget an episode of Gun Law (the predecessor of Gun Smoke) when Matt Dillon noticed columbine growing and told his partner, who was then Chester and not Festus, that columbine always grow where there are graves and of course they discovered the victim.

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    1. Wow, he knows something about horticulture that I don’t. I wonder if there is some reasoning for him to have said that, or if it just sounded good for the show. I know that we can tell a lot about a site by what is growing on it. For example, we can tell if a place burned in the past few years, or decades by the maturity of the pioneer species (those that move in after fire).

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  2. I’ve only seen our native red and yellow combo growing, but they were breathtaking the first time I saw them. The second time, too, for that matter. Now I’m hoping for a third time.

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