10 Reasons You Need This Plant in Your Garden Now!
1 LOTS TO CHOOSE FROM
As well as the classic single flowers, there are frilled varieties with double flowers and striking two-tone options if you want to try something a little different. If you can’t decide, then the Aquilegia vulgaris Collection is great for a modern garden, with ‘Black Barlow’, ‘Pink Barlow’ and ‘Blue Barlow’. Height 90cm Spread 40cm, £10/3 bare root plants hayloft.co.uk.
2 EASY TO GROW
Very few plants are easier to grow than these beautiful bonnet-shaped flowers. They come back year after year, grow pretty much anywhere and even slugs generally leave them alone! They sow their seeds all by themselves, filling your borders with charming flowers in late spring and early summer. But if you don’t want them popping up all over the place, simply remove the flowers as they fade. Buy plants at the garden centre, or they’re super-easy to grow from seed.
3 THEY ADD SPRING COLOUR
Aquilegia bloom in mid-spring, filling the slot when your bulbs have finished but before your early summer flowers get going. They flower for approximately six to eight weeks through April and May.
4 SOME SMELL GORGEOUS
The large creamy-white flowers of Aquilegia fragrans have a fine scent that is rare for this species and come midsummer they’ll be dripping with nectar. Plant this variety near a doorway or path where you can most appreciate the delicate scent. Height 60cm Spread 50cm, £6/1L pot kevockgarden.co.uk.
5 HAPPY IN A POT INDOORS
For a variety that can be cut and popped into a vase, choose ‘Nora Barlow’ (Height 70cm Spread 45cm, £5.99/9cm pot primrose.co.uk) with its rippled, raspberry-pink and white petals with a slight green tinge. If you plant a pot of aquilegia indoors, these unfussy plants will be content for a few days if you want a pretty Easter table centrepiece.
6 BEES LOVE THEM
Aquilegia are popular with bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects at a time in the garden when there aren’t many other blooms around. Each of the five flower petals has a spur with a feast of nectar.
7 LIGHT UP A SHADY SPOT
Ornamental aquilegia ‘Munstead White’ has sculptural tiered flowers of pure green- white, which will add a luminous pop to a partly shady corner. Height 60cm Spread 45cm, £4.95/9cm plant sarahraven.com.
8 PICK AND MIX COLOURS
They come in a range of colours from delicate pastel pink, cream and pale blue to stronger colours such as deep purple, red and yellow. You can also get dark, chocolatey aquilegias that look almost black, so there’s one to suit every colour scheme. Garden designers love the stunning ‘Black Barlow’ with its intense deep purple almost black double flowers like pom-poms. Height 90-100cm Spread 60cm £599/9cmpotted plant dobies.co.uk.
9 PRETTY FOLIAGE
Rosettes of lacy, pale-green, scalloped leaves form soft domes from which the flower stalks rise, ranging from 10cm to over a metre tall.
10 NO PRUNING NEEDED
Put away your snips once the flowers have finished, the plant dies back, ready to grow afresh next spring.