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14 messages
10/05/2014 at 11:09


Can anyone tell me if the different shaped aquilegia flowers around my garden have different names? The shape of flowers is so diverse, and I wondered if one of them is the native wild variety.

10/05/2014 at 11:43

Both of those will be descended from the wild one,Aquilegia vulgaris. There are loads of variety and cultivar names but the plants are so promiscuous they don't mean much.

10/05/2014 at 11:52

The native Aquilegia Vulgaris look like this and come in a limited range of colours:

Picture taken from the Touchwood site, here:

Most of the ones found in our gardens are crosses of the native one, which has dominant genes, so seedlings are often more like the wild form than any cultivar.  They are more often classified by flower shape such as 'clematis' ,'long spurred', double, etc. as they are so promiscuous that it makes little sense to give these crosses individual names.  Great fun to breed them yourself though - several of us on the forum do that.

10/05/2014 at 11:58

I've introduced other species and got some even more interesting crosses. A. viridiflora which is sometimes sold as chocolate something adds a nice new style. As. canadensis and skinneri for a wider colour range. A. vulgaris on its own doesn't go beyond purple/pink/white

10/05/2014 at 12:08

You've mentioned canadensis and skinneri before nut - must add some of those and see what happens!

Mine are crosses with mckana hybrids and the large flowered blue & white one native to the Rockies in the US (aquilegia caerulea) - those are very long-lived for me and I have had some in a bed for 15 years. 

10/05/2014 at 12:39

Most of my crosses are with Nora Barlow. I get pompoms as well as different colour barlow babies. I have 20 packets of Touchwood doubles(mainly yellow and something else) on the go to give some different colours to the mainly pinks I have on the back and mainly blue/blacks/purples on the front.

This is the last year that the owner of thenational collection (Carrie Thomas) is going to offer seeds from a single plant, so if anyone wants new gorgeous aquilegias, I suggest you get on her website  Touchwood plants (as above) and get the seeds in now.

10/05/2014 at 12:46

Nut and Bob, I don't agree about the colour of wild A. vulgaris, it is usually a deep, intense blue. These are in my garden, but they are the wild type.


10/05/2014 at 14:25

I thought the pinks and whites were variations of vulgaris landgirl. What has been crossed to produce those?

Bob, I've grown caerulea from seed last year but I'm not sure if it's going to flower this year. I should have got them planted out last year and they got a bit restricted in the pots.

fidget, I've got a good spread of colour and shape now, I may look for a few more species though

10/05/2014 at 15:04

I have several ones that I got as seeds from a colleague who had collected them from known strains in her garden. None of the has her colours but that was expected. I am now on tenterhooks to see if the really odd one has come back. It was not as vigourus as the other ones but had a very weird flower. Instead of the bell shape they usually have it had the side petals but instead of the main flower heads it had really small petals like a wreaf/crown. If it does it again I'll post a photo.

The others grow like monsters in the garden. Almost taking over the place.

10/05/2014 at 15:12

It was with a heavy heart that I had to zap some of my aquilegias this spring with Roundup. I'd allowed them self seed and many has settled in the crowns of some hostas. One of them had to go , so Hostas 1 Aquilegias 0. But I've sown tons of seed to replace them in positions of my choosing, if not theirs.

I'd always gone with " I'll let them flower, and , if I don't like the, I'll pull them out". But never disliked one enough to pull it out.

10/05/2014 at 15:25

I had to dig some of mine out as they where blocking everything else as they were at the front of the border. They seems to  have recovered from the shock and stated to shoot leaves again after dying down totally.

10/05/2014 at 17:33

Disability, surgery due next weekend ,prevents me seeing my garden as much as I would wish, however I managed a push round last week and was amazed at the height of my aquilegias, most were double their normal height,. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this happening this year?

11/05/2014 at 21:49

Yes Airwaves some of mine are really tall, well over 2ft. Not had that before. The wet winter we had must have affected them.

I'm delighted to see all these comments on this subject and I had found Touchwoods website was a delight to see. My daughter has some bi-coloured ones and I'd like to have a go at crossing some of mine.

11/05/2014 at 22:16

They'll cross themselves dd, 

Yes airwaves, some of mine are really tall. Surprisingly not many have fallen over in the recent winds

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