Aquilegia – Columbine, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

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Perennial Flower Information

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Aquilegia
– Columbine

The
names of this flower are interesting to the garden lover
with imagination. It is called Columbine, some say,
because the flowers appear like the cap of a court jester;
others have suggested that the spurs of the flowers
cause them to appear like a ring of doves (Colombo)
about a dish. And its name Aquilegia, is it from agui
legus,
to draw water, or from aquila, an
eagle? Both derivations would be apt, for the Aquilegia
appears to draw water from the rocks upon which it grows
in the wild and the shape of the flower suggests the
talons of an eagle.

SPECIES.
Canada Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). This
is the common species native to the Eastern states.
The flowers are red and yellow, and the spurs are medium
short. Rocky Mountain Columbine (A. caerulea) is
a most beautiful sort which in its wild form has
white petals and usually white sepals and long blue
spurs. It is a native of the Western States and is found
at elevations of from 7,000 to 10,000 feet. As a parent
it has produced many excellent white, pink and blue
varieties. The variety Rose Queen is one of the most
charming sorts.

A.
chrysantha is
a yellow sort with long spurs which
blooms somewhat later than the other sorts. It has been
much used as a parent for long-spurred hybrids.

Common
European Columbine (A. vulgaris). This is a European
species with bright lilac flowers, although its white
form nivea is most commonly grown. It is a dwarf
sort, 1 1/2 feet, tall and with stout, curved spurs.
This variety has the best foliage of any Columbine,

UTILIZE.
Most species are excellent for the rock garden, as well
as for the herbaceous border, where they make clumps
sometimes 2 feet in diameter. It is difficult to arrange
Columbines as cut flowers, they seem to strangle each
other. When a truly exquisite effect is desired, cut
a single truss of bloom and place it in a vase by itself.

GENERAL
AND PROPAGATION. Aqulleglas bloom in from 12 to 15 months
from seed; in other words, they rarely or never bloom
the first year when the seed is sown in the open border.
When sown in August of one year they will bloom nicely
the next year. The seedlings prefer a warm, sandy soil.

The
seed sometimes germinates irregularly but it is usually
advisable to sow the seed shortly after it is ripe.
The plants make little growth during the hot Summer
from Spring-sown seed. Large plants may be divided in
September.

It
might be advisable for the amateur gardener to buy plants
of the various sorts which, if planted together, will
cross to form many hybrids. Most Columbines do well
in the sun but will stand some shade.

 


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