Columbine Flowers – Flowers of the month of May!
In the middle of May the garden started filling up with clusters of blooming columbines (aquilegia flowers). I just love these quite filigree flowers and the different (mostly rather pale) hues they have!
In the USA the Rocky Mountain columbine plant is the much-loved state flower of Colorado. Yet, columbines are much-admired ornamental garden plants in many places on the Northern Hemisphere! The unique shape of the flowers and the lovely sweet fragrance is an addition to any garden! They are undemanding and easy to grow.
Tip: These flowers also look terrific in flower bouquets (not to forget the lovely fragrance that perfumes the air inside)!
Did you know that columbine plants belong to the buttercup flower family (ranunculaceae) like many other popular garden flowers? Columbine plants are ideal for near natural or cottage gardens because they attract many animals, like insects and hummingbirds. They are excellent butterfly garden plants.
The attractive flowers have a distinctive bell-shaped appearance and each petal is modified into a lengthened nectar spur. This is a very clever design because only nectar-feeders with along tongue can reach the desired nectar and pollinate.
Hummingbirds, for instance, have a long, slender bill and can feed upon this plant easily! Yet, hummingbirds exist in the New World only. In the regions where hummingbirds are the main pollinators the long petal spurs or more elongated than in regions were insects do the job of pollination.
In the Old World the flowers are visited and pollinated by rather big and strong insects like bumblebees, butterflies and moths (especially hawk moths). Year after year we have hummingbird hawk moths (Macroglossum stellatarum) in the garden and it is so much fun to watch this busy insects (that actually look and behave like small hummingbirds) visiting flower after flower!