About this cultivar:
Aquilegia vulgaris 'William Guiness' is a short-lived Aquilegia cultivar with deep black-purple petals surrounded by white central petals. The species 'vulgaris' means common - not vulgar! This cultivar is also known as 'Magpie'. Despite being short-lived it will spread via seed like other Aquilegia.
- Position: Full sun, partial shade
- Soil: Almost any soil - grows well in Ballyrobert!
Flowers: April, May, June
- Other features: -
- 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: Purple, green, white, black
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!