Aquilegia

Summer-flowering perennials which have been grown in this country for centuries, the columbines have an attraction of their own. The modern trend is for long-spurred flowers, although both short- and long-spurred types look well in any floral decoration. The colour range of Aquilegia is fairly wide, and although the mixed strains such as ‘Mrs Scott Elliott’s’ and the newer `McKana hybrids’ are very good, the separately named varieties are preferred by some gardeners. Of these ‘Crimson Star’, ‘Mrs Nicholls’ (blue and white) and the yellow A. longissima last well.

Seed is sown during July or August, either in pots or boxes under a cold frame and transplanted to flowering quarters in October, or, if insufficient growth has been made, kept in boxes after pricking out, until the early spring. They like an open, sunny situation and a fairly rich soil, which does not dry out during the summer. They do well in chalky ground, but die out in very heavy soil. Since the hard seed is often slow in germinating, it is a good plan to rub it smartly with sandpaper. The slight scratching will lead to earlier growth. These flowers do not travel well, but gathered from the garden and used at once for indoor decoration they remain in good condition for a long time.

Aquilegia

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