Tag Archives: columbine

April flowers soaked by May showers equal early fruits

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May’s warmth arrived in April. The April rains have soaked the first week of May. It’s all so confusing, but the plants like it. The plums are ripening about three weeks earlier than they were least year. The first strawberries have set fruit about two weeks earlier. And a brand new pink columbine popped up where I don’t remember planting anything. This really is a marvelous spring!


In which I whinge about the heat

Columbine "Magpie"

It’s not even all that hot, and I’m not used to it. I had forgotten how unpleasant it is to drive home from a friend’s barbeque with your back glued to the car seat. Or when your hands are sweaty and sticky between the fingers so it feels like you ought to wash your hands before you type.

But it’s great weather for flowers. My “Magpie” columbine still think it’s spring, the perfect time to open purple and white clouds for the bees.

And it’s great weather for sitting outside in the evening, feeling the breeze coming down the hill, smelling the lilac in full flower, and listen to the robins sing. It’s even nicer when the sweet cat follows you around and plops at your side to be petted while you watch a trail of tiny black ants carry tinier mysterious bits of white to their nest. Things get a little weird when she decides to roll around on your stinky bare feet, and weirder yet when she delivers to your toes a gentle kitty chomp.

That’s just her way of letting you know that cats are mysterious creatures. No way can you blame that on the heat.

The mystery of the seed packets

Aquilegia vulgaris "Magpie" seed packet

It’s that time of year when I look over the racks of seeds in the store thinking, Ooh I want those. But don’t I already have some cleome seeds around somewhere? Even when I look through my collection of seeds at home, I still can’t shake that feeling. Today, not only this mystery but another was solved.

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Bye, columbine

Bee diving up into columbine

The last of my columbines are still attracting bees (this one is a Lasioglossum), but they are fading and raising up fistfuls of seed pods.  They’ll be back. They’ve come back and spread with glee, ever since I planted a few seeds years ago. All I remember of the variety is that supposedly the dark purple, nearly black little bonnets were popular with death-obsessed Victorians. These self-seed so freely, they out-compete any other columbines I’ve tried. So they’re easy to grow, so easy I have to pull them up from random cracks in the stone walls. And the littlest bees love them.

Anybody want some columbine seeds?

Fall sprouts

Columbine sprout

Okay, it’s after Thanksgiving, so the weather is officially allowed to snow. And even now, just when most of the garden is falling asleep, some seeds are still sprouting. Like this a columbine unfurling its first leaves.  Good way to get a jump on the competition. You think?