This week’s Herbaria is a tribute to columbine (Aquilegia) and some of its friends. There’s a lot going on in the garden right now, but chances are good that this will be the last week that they are all blooming at the same time and I was eager to see them assembled together as a collection.
Aquilegia are charming, graceful, meadow flowers that dance and sway in the breeze on long, thin stems. They are generally very profuse self-seeders, although I planted a deep wine colored double last year that broke the rule and did not reproduce or come back, period. [Shakes fist] Despite the rare exception, they are very easy plants to grow and the toughest of the bunch will succeed in surprisingly shady locations.
Aquilegia are a diverse group with plants in a wide range of forms, colors, and flower shapes. I tend towards the simple native types and the elegant double flowers. I am generally not a fan of the two-toned or very open flowers, although you can see that there is an exception in my collection. Of the flowers and leaves I have assembled below, there is one missing that I was not able to add here, a dark double called ‘Black Barlow.’ I put it in as a bare root early this spring and it will be another year before the flowers make an appearance. Plus, Davin moved it and I don’t know exactly where it is so I couldn’t find a leaf to include.
In the future I hope to add the native Aquilegia canadensis to my garden, but I’m waiting to get one in trade. I just can’t bring myself to purchase a plant that reproduces so readily!
Every week, from now until I can no longer find anything living to fill up the boxes, I will be photographing and posting a collection of flowers, leaves, stems, and other plant parts that are in my garden. This is an experiment in celebrating diversity and I hope it will allow me to focus more closely on the beauty that is inherent in the different parts of each plant. It will also serve as a visual file of the seasons.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I know I will enjoy putting them together. I can’t wait to show you more! The garden is so full and alive right now, I could have put together several for this week alone.
I am loving this combination of the chartreuse ‘Designer Genes’ hosta, flanked by the delicate Claytonia virginica ‘Spring Beauty’ blooms.
See also: Sierra Spring Beauty (Claytonia nevadensis).
I have to say that while I had been feeling a bit extravagant in my fall bulb purchases, I don’t have an ounce of regret now that spring has come and I am able to enjoy them in bloom. It’s been a joyful surprise watching each bud emerge from the soil and open. In many cases I had forgotten what was planted and it’s been like an adult version of a surprise inside bag. What will bloom next?
The violets are blooming and as always I am taken in by their sweet fragrance and colourful little faces. I met a gardener yesterday afternoon, a woman decades my senior, and as we spoke of the violets in her garden and our mutual affection for their graceful charm, I was surprised to learn that she did not know that they are edible!
Labrador Violet (Viola labradorica) growing in the garden of the gardener I met yesterday afternoon. She said that, “…they like it underneath the tree.”
I love the combination here of Labrador Violet (Viola labradorica) with chartreuse Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’)