Aquilegia vulgaris | Common Columbine ‘William Guinness’/ ‘Magpie’
Aquilegia vulgaris Columbine is known as Granny’s Bonnet, European Crowfoot, European columbine, and Grannys Nightcap. It’s an all time favorite garden and wildflower that can be found growing in woodlands, meadows and cottage gardens. Columbine species are hardy, herbaceous, short-lived perennials that are easy to grow from seed and will tolerate a large range of soil and sun types. Will do well in full sun, but will flower better with some shade. (Some columbines go dormant in the summer and will grow foliage again in the fall.) The leaves which are the main attraction the first year are fern-like and resemble that of Meadow Rue and Clover. The plants will typically bloom during the second year of growth from late spring to early summer. Columbine flower petals are spurred, which is a major characteristic that sets them apart from most other flowers. They will grow in a wide range of soils and even gravel and are drought tolerant and tough as nails.
‘William Guinness’, also called ‘Magpie Columbine’ is an old-fashioned style columbine with very short-spurs on large, nodding, bicolored flowers that are dark-purple (nearly black) with contrasting white exterior petals. Flowers are held high above foliage and are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and bumblebees.
Seeds may require cold-stratification before sowing indoors, or one can direct-sow them outdoors in autumn or late winter/spring. They will gladly self sow in soil, gravel, under decks, etc.
Sun exposure: Part shade to full sun
Mature height: 2-3 ft
Mature width: 18 inches
Hardiness zones: 3- 9