Granny's bonnets

Aquilegias - or Granny's Bonnets - it is their time of year to shine.  They are also called Columbine which comes from the latin for pigeon.  How they link to pigeons I am not sure, Aquilegia comes from the latin for eagle, as the petals are meant to resemble an eagle's claw (maybe if you squint?), but why the pigeon reference?  Anyway, they are mainly known as Granny's bonnets from years gone by when grannys wore bonnets.  Neither of my grannies wore bonnets and I am now very disappointed by this.
I have many aquilegias in my garden.  I made sure I had some self-seeded in some of my containers when I moved into this house.  I am not a huge fan of buying named varieties as to me it feels a bit pointless.  Oh I know I am supposed to hanker after Nora Barlow, and she is indeed a fine flower, but Nora, like all aquilegias, is a tart and will be promiscuous with whoever she can be.  The resulting seedlings may or may not take after her and so the one plant will not generate into more.  To have more Noras I have to buy more Noras, well I'm not keen to do that.  So I let my mongrel aquilegias do their promiscuous thing with each other, and I enjoy their random offspring as I have no expectations of them that they can fail to meet.
I do think that this one might have been from a free packet of seeds.  Its quite nice....... for a green flower.
This is my favourite one in the garden at the moment.  A beautiful pink, quite simple in structure, a real joy.
This white one is a close second though.  I have lots of different colours and shapes, all have their own beauty.

Letting them run rampant around the garden leads to some great floaty colour combinations and some beautiful hybrids are created.  I love this time of year and can't wait to see what different types emerge next year.


  1. What a lovely post....I adore columbines too...and have lots in the garden. Many colours but haven't got any white ones like yours.They are superb....

    Still, columbines are such you say, who knows what will happen next year?

  2. I agree: with Aquilegias, seeing what you get each year is half the fun. And they're all pretty, so there's no need for named varieties. I have some muddy pale pink ones that appear every year, and I even like those. Having said that, I have bought one plant of "Black Barlowe" this year because I have no really dark ones. Can't wait to see the offspring.

  3. Your Columbines are fabulous, who needs named ones, well I have a few but its unnecessary. Your white one is exceptional. Yes my granny wore a bonnet, there again that's understandable, considering.

  4. Thanks for the kind comments - I think the white one has only emerged this year, done remember seeing it before - it is a real beauty

  5. Your post made me look up Columbine and one entry referenced the Latin for dove - part of flower is supposed to resemble four doves nestling together. Probably huddling together to avoid the eagle's claws :-)
    I have one named variety - Nora's sister, but I expect it will soon disappear to be replaced with assorted seedlings. It is a plant that could win a gold medal for seeding itself about.

  6. I love them...and will grow shed loads more next year...they make fab cut flowers. :)

  7. Love these, we have lots in our garden, various clours, always brings a smile every year whne they come out :)

  8. They are doers reliable and prodigious and cross pollination produces amazing variations so you never quite know what you are getting. I love them too. Beautiful.


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