Thursday, May 12, 2011

Courage


These flowers always remind me of growing up in the Rocky Mountains where in the the spring they would bloom in the most amazingly harsh places and as long as there was moist soil, they prospered. They looked like prairie maidens bobbing in the spring breezes wearing bold colored bonnets.


I planted several Aquilegia (Columbine) from seed last year and while they produced the rare flower and developed a small base of leaves, it was not until this second year that they seemed to come into their own.  The flower with its spurs at the back of the flower head are what make it interesting. Sometimes the spur curls and sometime it thrusts it pointy ends upward like swords.  The leaves are also a beautiful blue gray and carpet the flower bed almost like a maiden hair fern when the flowers are finished blooming.  If various colors are planted near each other they will cross-pollinate and produce some surprises!  They are hardy, reseed, and not difficult to grow and in my yard I just ignore the leaf miners that appear in summer and pretend the mosaic they create on the leaves is art.





Years ago Native Americans ate the flowers even though the seeds and roots are poisonous.  I will not deadhead this year and see if my flowers spread gently in their space.  There are over 70 species and I should give the names of the ones I planted...but I cannot remember!




My research says the name came from the Latin columba which means dove and it is because they are said to look like a gathering of doves, not a huge stretch of imagination, although the flowers above look like ball gowns. It was also believed that lions ate them and thus resulted the myth(?) that rubbing ones hands with the plant would make one courageous.  I am going to ignore the folklore that it also represents fallen love.


10 comments:

tangledbranches said...

Beautiful photos of beautiful flowers. Do the hummingbirds visit them? (I've read that they do, but never seen it happen.)

I only have A. canadensis, but your photos urge me to order some seeds.

Brian Miller said...

love the textures of these flowers so tight packed the petals...and pretty magenta

Celia said...

Delicate looking but hearty, and such gorgeous colors. I have some dark red one from seed we got in a park store in Montana. Lovely pictures.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

How beautiful...

deb colarossi said...

They are one of my favourites...
Your space always make me so happy, so filled with a certain peace

thank you for that Tabor..

sorry for the long absence , I've been quiet

Maggie said...

Oh lovely. Gorgeous stuff.

rosaria said...

Oh these are beautiful! I will look for columbine seeds and throw them in the wind to propagate. Simply delightful post.

Chris said...

I have pink ones that show up all over my gardens. I think I'll look for some other colors. Beautiful!

Pauline said...

One of the best tastes of summer is the nectar eaten from the spur ends of the columbine. These photos are lovely!

Kerri said...

The flower shapes are captivating, aren't they? And those pastel shades are beautiful. Columbines are one of spring's best gifts.
Your close-ups are wonderful.