FLOWER OF THE WEEK
Botanical name: Aquilegia hybrids.
Attributes: These very showy perennials help fill the void of bloom between spring and summer perennials. Each plant is short-lived, but they self sow in profusion. They readily attract hummingbirds to your garden.
Bloom color: White, yellow, reds, pink, blue, violet or combination colors.
Bloom time: May and early June.
Culture: Plant columbines in full sun or light shade and in moist to dry, well-drained soil. They often rot in heavy clay. They are naturally short-lived -- each plant lives about three years, but they self sow and hybridize freely. Deadhead for repeat bloom and to reduce seed production if they are too prolific. Allow plants to self sow, and cherish their colorful new surprises.
Landscaping tips: Columbines add brilliant color to shade and rock gardens and are an important element for attracting hummingbirds. They also work well in crevices in rock outcrops, walls or paths where they will often self sow, visually softening lines and edges. Good companion plants include azaleas, ferns, hardy geraniums, hardy gingers, golden alexanders, hostas and penstemons.
Cost: Price varies from $4 for a small 3-inch potted plant to more than $10 for a gallon-sized new cultivar.
Source: Powell Gardens (www.powellgardens.org)