Name: Aquilegia vulgaris aka Columbine
Type of Plant: A short-lived perennial native to Europe that becomes naturalized in gardens and wild areas.
Why I Love This Plant: This is a plant for people who can appreciate it for what it is. It’s not long-lived, it doesn’t flower all summer, and it’s lean and lanky so that it’s not impressive from a distance.That said, this is a plant that will seed in random places where you can either be delighted by its willingness and unexpected growth, or you can easily pull it out. Not that many plant people will pull it, since it plays well with others and grows and flowers early in the season before the stronger, more robust perennials come into bloom.
I appreciate this plant because you never know what you’ll get in terms of flower color and form. Some of the flowers might be blue or reddish, while others could be almost black. You can get flowers that are single or double, and some might have white edges. It’s a surprise package that never disappoints. And, the hummingbirds love it!
A Word to the Wise: Learn to recognize the foliage so that you can leave it where it appears. Know that this perennial is prone to leaf-miner, which it’s best to just ignore.