About this cultivar:
Aquilegia caerulea (or Aquilegia coerulea on the RHS website- typing error?) is the official state flower of Colorado - where it is a native and where I (Paul) lived for 2 years. Thus when it is dark and grey here I look at this plant in our garden and it makes me think of the 300 days of sunshine a year I could be enjoying at the foot of the Rockies.... (not to mention the 175 craft breweries...)
A fantastic performer (AGM winner) it grows 2- 3 feet tall. The flowers are variable in colour, from pale blue (as in the species name caerulea) to white, pale yellow and pinkish; very commonly the flowers are bicolored, with the sepals a different shade to the petals. However the ones we sell are mostly a bicolour blue and white. Careful - it can seed like crazy.
- Position: Full sun, partial shade
- Soil: Almost any soil - grows well in Ballyrobert!
Flowers: April, May, June
- Other features: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM)
- Hardiness: Fully hardy - grows well in Ballyrobert!
- Habit: Clump forming, bushy
- Foliage: Deciduous
- Height: 60 - 90 cm (2 - 3 ft)
- Spread: 60 - 90 cm (2 - 3 ft)
- Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
- Colour: Blue, white, green
Goes well with: Dark leaved Actea, golden grasses (Deschampsia or Stipa), Trollius and Geranium.
About this genus:Aquilegia is a herbaceous perennial that contains about 70 species native to the temperate countries of the northern hemisphere. It is grown for its beautiful bonnet shaped flowers that seemingly come in every colour imaginable. The genus Aquilegia get its name from aquila (eagle in Latin) and the columbus (dove in Latin). I cannot think why. No doubt the botanist naming this plant must have also been working closely with some hallucinogenic genus when naming this plant.
At Ballyrobert we have a love/hate relationship with Aquilegia because they seed everywhere! An established Aquilegia clump will spread rampantly via seeds, which will give you years of pleasure or pain (depending on your approach to weeding). As a compromise we have tried to find varieties that will seed as true-to-form as possible – so we don't get as many uninvited colours into the garden (or nursery for that matter!). The copious amounts of seed produced by Aquilegia attract many small birds and other forms of wildlife. I am convinced I have seen squirrels eat Aquilegia seeds by picking them out of the flowers.
Aquilegia is usually evergreen and best suited to wild or cottage-style gardens. Good pairing partners include dark leaved Actea, golden grasses (Deschampsia or Stipa), Trollius and Geranium.
We find that regardless of soil, sun, shade, temperature Aquilegia will happily grow almost anywhere (and everywhere) that isn't a pond – invite into you garden with caution!