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I bought Kew seed collection - sweet rainbows last year and was really pleaed that all seeds grew and flourished. Whis year all plants produced lovely flowers 

However i am so  disappointed that all the flowers on all the plants have their heads facing downwards so unless you acturlly lift the head you dont get to see the beautiful structure and colours is  this typical of columbines?



Most of them tend to face downwards, however the allotment plot next to mine has some lovely dark purple and white ones which look upwards


The "winky series" of aquilegia  have upward facing flowers.

But you cant describe them as grannys bonnets.


I love the elegance of the downward facing ones - as Fidget says, they're the traditional 'Granny's Bonnets'.  I have a few of them in pots on a wall so the flowers are at eye level .  However, the other varieties are lovely too - they each have their own charms.

Beware, they're addictive! 


I currently have 20 dozen touchwood  double pricked out into 3 inch pots.

I will bring some to Barnsdale, they are looking for a home.



They're certainly addictive. I have some that point up and they don't look right at all


..probably not for the purist, but if you like upward facing flowers then the American 'Swan' series might suit... named after American states..I've got 'Virginia' and 'Alaska' so far, but would like to get some more... perhaps rather brash..but I don't mind that.. cheerful and colourful...

I've done both break23.  If the plants are setting seed now then the seedlings will get established well before autumn and should flower for next year.  You an also take the dry seed heads off and store the seed to sow in autumn or next spring.  Aquilegia is pretty easy to grow, probably why it's so popular.  I doubt your seedlings will be like the parent plant though so if you want a specific colour best to buy the seeds.

Yes division works and would make sure you get the same flowers.  I suppose the best time would be after it finishes flowering and make sure the replanted bits don't dry out.


I either sow them straight away or about mid winter. I got caught once or twice sowing in autumn, they germinated very quickly and I had babies to keep though long cold winters (not last winter)


The seed is ready when it has turned black and glossy and the seed pods go brown and start to open.  They can then be sown straight away or the folowing spring if you store the seeds in a dry place.


They don't need heat. They do well with a chill but not everyone does that so I assume it's not essential.

Carrie Thomas from  Touchwood aquilegias advised January in a cold GH when I got my last order from her. I cover them with grit, water and ignore til they germinate. The grit stops them drying out

Outside is Ok but there's the danger of washout and birds scrabbling in the compost.


Next year I will have Barlow black, thanks Fidget  Your other offspring are also doing fine.

I think I will move plants to a higher position somewhere at eye level for next year  - or bend down more often )

thanks for all the advice

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