I couldn’t let May end without dedicating a post to this month’s star performers, some of which made an appearance in the mid-month review. Standing tallest are the Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata ‘Lime Sorbet’ which I raised from seed. There are nine of these dotted around the borders, clustered with cool green flowers which open wide and fade to white petticoats.

Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata 'Lime Sorbet'

Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata 'Lime Sorbet'

Well, there are actually ten of these plants, but the first I bought in bloom at Malvern last spring, while my new seedlings were too young to flower, under the epithet Aquilegia x hybrida ‘Green Apples’, which turns out to be a synonym of ‘Lime Sorbet’. I liked the plant so much I bought it twice, as both plant and seed! The dangers of multiple names: I obviously was not paying enough attention…

Pink and white 'flouncy' aquilegia

Three aquilegias: lime sorbet and pink and purple self-sown

These are joined around the garden by some self-sown pink and purple-flowered types of varying heights, some rescued from the wreckage of our building site last year, others brought over from my parents’ or MIL’s gardens.

In the narrow strip along the front drive, a self-sown candy pink aquilegia matches the emerging buds of the climbing rose, probably New Dawn, alongside it.

Pink aquilegia

Pink climbing rose bud, possibly New Dawn

Back in the main borders, and slightly later to bloom was A. Red Hobbit, a shorter cultivar, with daintier flowers, dressed to the nines in red jacket and spurs.

Aquilegia Red Hobbit

Aquilegia Red Hobbit

A plant of similar stature, with spurred blooms dressed to match in blue, has also appeared in the border. This appears to be A. coerulea, which Red Hobbit does indeed derive from.

Aquilegia, blue with white inner

Blue aquilegia

I believe that this was a small unlabelled aquilegia seedling that I picked up at some local NGS open gardens last summer with my parents, which I remember planting out late last summer as the border was created, but I seem to have made no notes as to exactly where that ended up (ahem).

In the greenhouse, I have grown seedlings of two subtly different yellow spurred varieties A. longissima and A. chrysantha, which should add a dash of lemon elegance to the garden next spring, along with the more flamboyant A. skinneri ‘Tequila Sunrise’, and I have already found many other small seedlings in the borders poised to make their own entrance too, so I suspect that in the years to come I will be judging and comparing, and swiftly removing those deemed not to measure up, to prevent the garden being awash. I can think of worse plants to be plagued with though…


12 thoughts on “Aquilegias

  1. I love Acquilegias though I may not post about them this year as my blog is getting predictable!! I really like the long spurred ones and this year I have A. canadensis flowering for the first time which is a wonderful orange and yellow and real burst of hot colour. Have some others germinating in the greenhouse but I cant remember which ones.

    • Ah. This is the first time I’ve posted about them, since it’s the first year we have flower beds of them, rather than a couple in pots or cracks in the rubble. I suspect I’m going to post an annoying number of jubilant posts on plant groups around the garden this year, that I’ll try not to repeat year-on-year šŸ˜‰ Although next year we should have lots of yellow ones for me to obsess over and the yellow-and-red A. Tequila Sunrise.

      I particularly like the long spurred ones too; A. canadensis sounds lovely.

  2. I am glad to have read your post – I was tempted by ‘Lime Sorbet’ when I looked in catalogues over the winter – I resisted but maybe next year šŸ™‚ Janet’s words are all too true but I always feel gulity of yanking them up or beheading when they are still in flower.

    • They have formed tall multi-stemmed plants with lots of beautiful flowers, very pleased with ‘Lime Sorbet’ – definitely recommend them! Suspect I will find it hard to pull out aquilegias in flower too.

    • So true. Although then gardening would only be about ripping stuff out, rather than those heart-stopping weeks nurturing seed trays until they’re big enough to go into the wide world! I can always think of a few other flowers that I wish would self-seed to stay in the garden without intervention, though.

  3. They look beautiful, I especially like the ‘lime sorbet’ which I have also planted this year – hope mine look as good as your next year!

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