Monday, January 21, 2013

Top Perennials Part 1 (of many)

As you probably know by now, I am a Flower gardener not a veggie gardener. When we moved to this large property about 25 years ago, I envisioned endless beds of shrub/perennial combinations changing beautifully with the seasons.
Well…….. let's just say I have learned a LOT since we got here! Achieving this type of look involves a lot more than choosing favourite flowers and planting them close to each other. In previous posts I have talked about how important design is for a lovely landscape. This is most definitely true.
Design = good bones. The plants are the "makeup" and embellishments. But they are definitely the "fun" part!

There is certainly a lot to be learned about the plants themselves. I have experimented with many, many flowers and have had varying success with them. I wish I'd kept better records as to what I purchased and why a particular plant didn't thrive.

But I do know that some flowers prove reliable despite lack of experience and even neglect. Here are some that have never let me down. Part One of this series features the Columbine.

Aquilegia (Columbine, Granny's Bonnet) is a lovely spring flower that is known for its spurred petals.

I have had a number of columbines that have bloomed every year since we moved in. My favourite is a pure white one which grows about 18-22"( depending on the season's rainfall). It's in a front yard bed beside a wonderful small shrub called a Slender Deutzia, which coincidentally blooms at the same time. The Aquilegia blooms are long lasting and deceivingly fragile-looking. The stalks are strong and it even makes an excellent cut flower.

While on vacation last summer, I photographed two lovely columbines growing beside an old house.

I am not even sure anymore how I got the original plant, but one of the most interesting Columbines that I have is the self-seeding Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadansis). They pop up in different spots every year. They are very unique, growing 3 - 3 1/2' tall and being a strong red colour with a yellow inside.

Last spring I bought 3 pots of a new Columbine and planted them near the linden tree and rabbit statue.
Their official name is Aquilegia Clementine Rose (plant marker says: Clematis-flowered Columbine). "A unique series of Columbine, featuring fluffy double flowers that resemble a small Clematis bloom, held upfacing on stems, well above the lacy green foliage mound."
I am looking forward to seeing how they bloom this coming spring.


Nadezda said...

Astrid, you are right, columbine is pretty and self seeding flower and yours are wonderful! I love those white and purple double. I usually plant them near my pond and it's nice when their buds hang under the water.

Jennifer said...

I love columbine and add more each year. The bouquet you featured Astrid is particularly pretty. I love the combination, especially the use of the Lady's Mantle.

Alistair said...

Astrid, I think Columbines have everything going for them. Blooms that almost have an unexpected exotic appearance, equally attractive foliage, yes like you, I love them.

HELENE said...

Hi Astrid, I am definitely a flower gardener too, even though I have a few herbs and don’t mind some strawberries!
I have been thinking of making a post about all the plants I have taken OUT of my garden, for all sort of reasons, over the years – that would be a very long post!

Love your Aquilegias, especially the Clementine Rose, wonder if it would do well in my garden, I looked it up and it doesn’t seem too fussy in terms of soil. Lovely header you have!
Take care, Helene.

Astrid said...

Hi Nadezda
Nice to know Columbines can stand damp conditions in case we get one of those wet summers!

Hi Jennifer
I was having friends over and went scouting in the garden for vase flowers. I was quite pleased with the result! You had great flowers on Pinterest the other day and I re-pinned a whole bunch. Thx for that.

Hi Alistair
You're right. The foliage looks very pretty even when the flowers are gone.

Hi Helene
I took the Header picture a few years ago at Canada Blooms, Canada's largest flower show. I thought with all this dreary cold weather, we could use a jolt of colour!

Mario said...

Astrid, your Columbine blooms are magnificent! You have a great eye for design and color. I will surely think of you every time I see a Columbine plant at the garden center this season. :)

Astrid said...

Hi Mario
Awww, thanks! I plan on checking many of the interesting plants you've talked about on your blog, in my local nurseries this spring. You certainly uncovered a great number of super-interesting ones. Hope they are available here.

debsgarden said...

My favorite flower! You have a nice variety. I also love your white one!

Astrid said...

Hi Deb
I'm thinking of growing some more from seed. Will check out the catalogues soon…

Landscape Design By Lee said...

Astrid-your Columbines are lovely. They are such a delicate flower and I love the mix of colors you pretty!

Astrid said...

Thanks Lee!
Doesn't this cold snowy/rainy weather just make you long for spring??? Thanks for stopping by!

Patty said...

Love the white columbine, I have never seen that one before. I agree with the others the flowers in the vase makes a great combination.