Aquilegia vulgaris, commonly known as 'Columbine' is one of my favourites. Often referred to as 'Granny's Bonnet' because of their bonnet shape, they are a mainstay of cottage gardens. Aquilegias are easy to grow and have a wonderful range of colours.
In ranges of purple, pink, white and yellow and often two different colours there is always a flower to fit the colour scheme you are looking for. There are also "double flowers' and some have particularly long 'spurs' protruding from the flowers.
Aquiligeas flower in early summer before a lot of the other summer flowering perennials get underway.
Aquilegeas are also great in the garden for their pretty, fresh springtime foliage which is amongst the first to appear after the rigours of winter. It provides useful background colour for your spring bulbs.
Aquilegia growing guide
Aquilegias are easy to please and will grow in most soil types and either sun or partial shade.
Planting is very straightforward, just dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball, plant your aquilegia and put back in the garden soil mixed with some compost. After planting water well. The best time to divide aquilegias is spring-time - March to May.
Many aquilegias will grow from seed and so once seed has formed and dried collect the seeds and put in an envelope and store somewhere dry until spring. Then scatter over some well prepared soil and wait for nature to take its course.
You will probably find that your aquilegias self-seed readily even without your help. The offspring may be different to the parent though. If you want to keep your aquilegias pure then snip off the flower stalks after flowering to prevent seed forming and increase your stocks by dividing clumps in the spring time.
Aquilegias work well in many plant combinations and the traditional cottage mainstay of aquilegias and roses is always popular.