Floral Friday – Aquilegia – Family Friendly Plants

If you know this flower, other names for it are Columbine and Grandma Bonnets; you may be saying what so family friendly about it? It is a cottage garden plant with thin stems holding up the very pretty flower heads which could easily get knocked by a ball or trampled upon. I say yes all of these things are true, but it is a lovely flower to have in May. It blooms about the same time as Forget me nots and bluebells.

For me, its family friendly characteristics include:-


  • It is really easy to grow.
  • It flowers early in the garden.
  • Lots of multiple flowers on one plant.
  • It is perennial, which means it will come back the next year.
  • It is low maintenance.
  • It does not get nibbled by slugs and snails.
  • It is available in a wide range of colours, pink, cream, purple, white and yellow. If you have a child who loves pretty flowers they are going to adore these.


Columbines are a short-lived perennial (4 or 5 years, usually), so let them re-seed from parent plants and you’ll always have some around.  You can grow them easily from seed.  As they flower early you can sow them in pots and trays from January onwards.  If you want to go for an easier option buy a couple of different varieties as soon as they are in the garden centres at about Easter time.  As they self-seed and cross pollinate easily then you will find many more and different varieties in your garden in the following years.
You will need to cut away old foliage in the late summer.  But as you see from the above photograph taken in my garden in mid-October the foliage soon reappears.  It provides an attractive plant throughout the winter.
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