Aquilegia, the Columbine (Latin from columba, “dove”) is in full bloom. This spring we’ve had enough rain that flowers are appearing in the margin of the gravel driveway and in the walkways where last year’s seed hitched a ride on the soles of my shoes.
This year the plants are over four feet tall. They are remarkably generous and tolerant of neglect, and the deer don’t seem to bother them. I had dark red blossoming plants from my parents (A. atrata) and a few of the bright blue A. caerulea that is the state flower of Colorado to start with, but over the last 10 years I’ve accumulated every shade of purple, pale pinks and creams and a few that are nearly black. I don’t think about them much at all, except that lovely interval in May when they bloom above healthy, lush green crowns of foliage and then retreat again before they can become boring – the botanical version of a house guest with perfect manners.