Aquilegia alpina

Alpine columbine

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  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: average
  • Flowering period: May
  • Hardiness: fully hardy

    Aquilegias are grown for their beautiful, nodding flowers, which vary in shape and size between species. The alpinas have blue flowers, sometimes with white petal tips that appear in late spring above the attractively divided, bluish-green foliage. This alpine columbine is perfect for rich soils in a sun or part shade and looks equally at home in a cottage-style scheme, among grasses, or dotted through a perennial border. It is quite short-lived, but self-seeds freely, though rarely to nuisance level.

  • Garden care: Sow seeds in containers in a cold frame in spring. Deadhead to prolong flowering. Contact with the sap may cause skin irritation.

Dryopteris filix-mas

male fern

Ideal for the woodland garden

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Achillea millefolium 'Lilac Beauty'


An unusual lilac, yarrow

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Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii


Handsome tall evergreen with chartreuse flowers in spring

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Lamprocapnos spectabilis

bleeding heart (syn. Dicentra spectabilis)

Arching sprays of pink, heart-shaped flowers

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Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca

small scabious

Delicate pale creamy-yellow pincushions

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Aquilegias - Top of the nectar table

These cottage garden essentials take their name from Aquila, Latin for eagle, because the nectar-rich spurs at the back of the flower resemble eagle's talons. Their other common name, columbine, is also related to a bird. If you turn the flowers upside d

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