BLUE GRANNY BONNETS
A mass of the richest deep blue Granny Bonnets all over spring and early summer.
As well, lovely, blue-green clumps of ferny leaves are decorative all year round on Aquilegia alpina Blue Granny Bonnets.
Few plants can give you so much beauty for so little work.
And a drift of Blue Granny Bonnets wandering along in the shade is surely one of spring’s sensational sights.
Hardy, easy & no fuss
One of the hardiest and most adaptable of all Aquilegia. So it will grow willingly in anything from Deep Shade to Full Sun. However if you wish to indulge it with perfection, it will positively purr in woodland conditions.
So put it in the Dappled Shade under trees and shrubs, and let it self seed to make a stunning drift of colour.
Growing: Aquilegia alpina Blue Granny Bonnets
– Height with flowers: 45cm. approx. branching flower stems. While the evergreen clump of pretty foliage is approx. 25cm high.
– Width: Evergreen foliage clump of approx. 25cm.diameter.
– Position: One of the hardiest and most adaptable of all Aquilegia. So it will grow willingly in anything from Deep Shade to Full Sun. However if you wish to indulge it with perfection, it will positively purr in woodland conditions, in the Dappled Shade under trees and shrubs.
– Soil: Average garden loam with some organic matter such as mulch is perfect. However tough Aquilegia alpina is not particularly fussy or choosy about soil types. It takes either acid or alkaline lime pH soils in it’s stride, and will thrive in all soil types from sandy to clay. However waterlogged soil will drop it dead in its’ tracks.
– Frost: Very frost hardy, as it is able the shrug off frosts to well below -10C.
Water-wise & easy, low maintenance
– Water-wise: Aquilegia alpina is a water-wise plant, thriving on average garden watering, and well able to withstand periods of dry once established. They actually quite like to dry out between waterings too – bless them.
– Care: No fuss, very easy care and low maintenance. As the only work to do each year is to cut back the spent flower stems after blooming. If use them as mulch in areas where you want new Blue Granny Bonnet plants, the seeds will drop and start a new colony for you.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial clump, repeat blooming each spring-summer. However Aquilegia alpina will also self seed with lots of little volunteer Blue Granny Bonnets to share with friends. Though they are not invasive, and are easy to weed out if you don’t want them in that spot.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Flowers provide food for bees, butterflies and small native honey-eating birds.
– Cut flowers: Aquilegia alpina provides armloads of Blue Granny Bonnet flowers for vases, where they are very long lasting as cut flowers.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Happily for gardeners, the roots, leaves and flowers contain chemical compounds that rabbits and deer cannot abide. So they ignore them and cannot be persuaded to eat the lush foliage. Not even slugs and snails will eat Blue Granny Bonnets.
An interesting history
– Origin: Aquilegia alpina hails from rocky slopes in northern Italy, where they grow in woodlands and hay meadows. It is a joy to see them on mass in their native habitat, and suddenly you understand why they are known in northern Italy as “Breath of God”.
– A wealth of names for a much loved flower: The name Aquilegia comes from Latin, where the word for eagle is “aquila”. The shape of the flower petals does indeed resemble the claw of an eagle. So it is an apt name.
Aquilegias have acquired many common names over the centuries, because they have been loved, brought in from the wild, and treasured by gardeners over many centuries
The common name “columbine” also comes from Latin. The Latin word for “dove” makes a very apt name and refers to the flower resembling five doves billing and cooing together.