How very beautiful are old-fashioned aquilegias, or colombines.   They are also known as granny’s bonnets. Bees love them.

Bee visiting aquilegia
Aquilegia visited by a bee

Here is an interesting piece on the plant’s name, published in 1927;

A new explanation of the derivation of the word “aquilegia” has been advanced by Rev. G.H. Engleheart, in the Gardener’ Chronicle. The Latin word “aquila.” an eagle, has been generally recognized as the origin of the word, but the latter part is unaccounted for, and there is no instance in Latin of its occurance as a termination. It is certain that “legia” is the second root compound of the word, which is derived from “aquelego” and means “water gatherer”. To anyone who has noticed the way shining globules will collect on the smooth surfaces of the columbine leaves, this explanation will appeal instantly.

And yes, as the article says…. they do hold droplets of moisture in a magical way;

Spring showers enhance their beauty.

In the morning mist;

On a misty morning.
Tumbling over my stone  wall.

I love the fact that they are tall growers,  suitable for my rustic jugs;

Jug of aquilegias etc.
Jug of aquilegias and azalea.

I only grow the most common old aquilegias, but there are some amazing varieties available, including doubles;

Varieties of aquilegias.
So very pretty.

The flowers  self seed in my Blue Mountains garden, and pop up  everywhere in early spring. They are always plenty of seeds to share with friends, both human and bird!

Crimson rosella eating aquilegia seeds.
Oh yes, delicious.

Faint in the fluttering fall of a flute divine,

Softly the cellos sing; ‘Columbine. Columbine’

By Hugh M’Crae

By the way, remember Columbine caramels? The colours are appropriate.

Columbine caramels

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