Columbine, Clematis and Friends

I got my first columbine plants as pass-along plants from my mother’s garden when we first moved into our home.  I’ve never purchased a columbine plant; I have several now, and many have undergone changes over the years, so that there are variations on the original plants that I started with.  I don’t know the specific variety names of the columbine that I grow, but I do know that they are spectacular now in the garden.  They require no special care, make excellent cut flowers for flower arranging, and the hummingbirds adore them as a nectar plant.

Here are a few that I grow:

This one shares its spot in the garden with another pass-along plant that I got from a friend, a hardy geranium in bright pink.  I love this really deep, dark purple color, with the little spot of yellow in the center setting it off nicely.

Here’s a variation on purple:

This purple columbine has a white edge that is quite striking.  I don’t recall that the first ones I planted here had that white edge, and I think these have developed in this way over time, but I could be wrong about that.

Another type of purple:

I like this purple ruffled double columbine–it reminds me of antebellum dresses that were worn in Gone With The Wind!

And now for some pink:

I love this delicate shade of pink.

Some variations on a theme:

A pink columbine with the white edge, nestled among other columbine.

A grouping now:

I like them grouped together, to play up all of their subtle differences–they are interesting to look at.

Some other plants in bloom at the same time as the columbine in my garden:

This is clematis ‘Asao.’  It grows in a large container, along with a few annuals that I pop in with it during the spring.  This container receives morning sun and afternoon shade, and it gets watered as needed and fertilized twice a month, except right before it blooms and of course when it’s dormant in wintertime.  It has been growing happily here for several years. 

Other flower friends nearby:

The stately foxglove.  These were growing here when we moved into the house, and over the years I have transplanted them all throughout the gardens.  If you like a really tidy, formal garden, these may not be the plant for you, because they reseed freely, but they are not what I would call invasive–they are easy to pull up and plant them where you like, or just give away or compost the excess that you have.  But what a gorgeous flower–the bees and hummingbirds also really love this flower.  Sometimes in the summertime, I will find bumblebees asleep inside these large tubular flowers early in the morning, before they have warmed up enough to fly away!

A closer look at the amazing color variations inside these lovely foxgloves.  I have some that bloom in white, as well as a deeper rose color.

Purple bearded iris that were given to me by a neighbor, dark Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Raven’s Wing’ with the white Queen Anne’s Lace-type flowers, and gobs of sky blue forget-me-nots surrounding.

And finally, blooming away inside is . . .

Amarylis ‘White Christmas.”  (Kind of misnamed–this one always blooms for me in May, lately.) 

What is new and in bloom in your garden?  Do let me know in the comments, and visit An Oregon Cottage for the Garden Party.


  1. allysgrandma said,

    May 31, 2011 at 1:36 am

    My columbine is quite prolific right now. Beautiful deep blue. Also my foxgloves, but it rained and they tipped over from the weight of the rain. Hopefully I will be able to participate this week, my life has been a bit crazy with my husband hospitalized with pneumonia. He is home now, but still not back to normal.

  2. May 31, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Oh my, I hope all goes better with good health on the home front. I have been out the last couple of weeks with surgery recovery as well, which is why I haven’t been participating much.

  3. Sherrie said,

    May 31, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Your garden is beautiful! Love all the different colors. Have a great day!

    Food for Thought

  4. June 1, 2011 at 2:25 am

    I think foxglove is overlooked, nice to see you enjoy it also!

  5. June 1, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I’m enjoying everyone else’s columbine while I wait for mine to bloom! My favorite is my little Western columbine from the Sierra Nevada 🙂

    • minervasgardenwriter said,

      June 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      I’d love to see a picture of it when it’s blooming!

  6. Lexa said,

    June 1, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Columbine is one of my all time favorite garden plants. Thanks so much for sharing all of the beautiful varoieties that you are growing. Happy Gardening!

    • minervasgardenwriter said,

      June 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      You are so welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Beth said,

    June 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Lovely – I don’t yet have any columbine in the garden – hope to plant some next gardening year.

    • minervasgardenwriter said,

      June 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you. They are very easy to grow, so I can be kind of lazy with them and they still look good–my kind of plant!

  8. Terri said,

    June 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Your clematis looks lovely!
    I bought a clematis this April for a sheltered wall at the front of our house. There’s no direct sunlight at all, but was advised this would be ok as they grow well in any aspect.
    I planted it in a pot with trellis to get it going, but it’s going nowhere. It’s alive but the flowers are dying and the leaves don’t look entirely healthy. There’s no growth at all.
    I’m wondering if it’s because it’s in a pot or perhaps the lack of direct sunlight (or both?). You say yours is in a large container which gives me hope – ours is in a barrel about 14 inches in diameter. Too small probably!

    • minervasgardenwriter said,

      June 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      You might want to consider these and see what you think:
      1. Water–is it getting enough or too much?
      2. Light–sounds like you might want to move the pot into a sunnier area and see if it does better.
      3. Food–A potted plant needs more fertilization than one growing in the dirt in a flower bed. I use Miracle Gro twice a month on my container clematis.
      4. Insect pects–possible, but it doesn’t sound like it to me based on your description.
      5. Container–My pot is 17 inches wide at the top and 15 inches tall. I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than that.

      It helps a lot to know the specific variety of clematis you are trying to grow in a container, because some are better suited to the purpose than others. You hopefully have one that normally gets no taller than 8 feet if it were growing in a garden bed–some get very much bigger than that, and never do well in containers. Also, some require full sun, others partial sun, and a very few shade, in order to thrive and grow well. My container clematis get morning sun and afternoon shade.

      A great reference book for more specifics and help is Clematis by Linda Beutler. She gives all kinds of tips for growing clematis, so it might help to look up your specific variety in her book and see what Linda says about it.

      Hope this helps!

  9. June 7, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Oh, you’re one of those who can get amarylis to rebloom! Lucky you- I’ve never been able to figure it out- the directions always seemed so complicated and the leaves would usually yellow and die on me within a few months of the original bloom. What are your tips and techniques? That one is gorgeous!

  10. Veronica said,

    October 25, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Hi …wow there are so many of my favourite plants and blooms in this post. Aquileigas are amazing and i can not get enough of these, I have order seed from a supplier in the Uk and can’t wait for them to arrive.

    • minervasgardenwriter said,

      October 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      Well done! You’ll have to do a post of what they look like when they bloom.

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