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Aquilegia (Columbine)
at Digging Dog

Including Aquilegia chrysantha, Aquilegia flabellata, Aquilegia rockii, Aquilegia vulgaris, and Aquilegia vulgaris plena

Aquilegia

Columbine

This genus deserves its lofty names, which mean “eagle” and “dove,” because its intricate flowers have been said to resemble birds in flight. Beyond the symbolism of the flowers, the finely textured, widely varied species possess a gracefulness that is likely to carry you to heights of enjoyment. Whether delicate dwarfs or bold, long-spurred varieties, Columbines are characterized by fernlike three-lobed leaves. They are best suited for naturalizing in a semishaded woodland, but the smaller species will thrive in a rock garden with some shade.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Aquilegia buergeriana ‘Calimero’  full sun  partial shade
Aquilegia buergeriana Calimero

Dangling like delicate Japanese lanterns, the plum and soft yellow blossoms are topped with wispy, tapered spurs that curve inward. Like an ideal small-space ornament, this compact Aquilegia offers a demure mound of foliage and arresting colors.

Blooms May–mid-June.

Size: 8" high x 8"–10" wide; hardy to zone 6.

Aquilegia buergeriana ‘Calimero’ (P-0918)
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Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Denver Gold’  full sun  partial shade
Aquilegia chrysantha Denver Gold

Bathed in brilliant golden yellow hues, fragrant extra large blossoms, some reaching over 3 in. across, achieve an elegant grace note as long tapered recurving spurs stream from behind. Promising a repeat bloom with attentive deadheading, the blithe open flowers are borne on well-branched stems above a compact ferny mound of lobed bluish green leaves. The native species, Aquilegia chrysantha, wanders throughout the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, while this robust Plant Select introduction brings an illuminated show to woodland gardens, the rockery and even a cut bouquet.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 15" wide. Zone 3/4.


Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Denver Gold’ (P-1742)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’  full sun  partial shade

As if in flight, ‘Yellow Queen’s long outward-curving spurs trail behind its cheerful, bright yellow flowers. Soaring on tall slender stems above bushy and bluish green, fernlike foliage, the upfacing, fragrant blooms are good-sized and abundant. Owing its vigor and floriferous nature to its wild southwestern cousin, Aquilegia chrysantha, this cultivar makes a sunny partner for the lush purple leaves of Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 15" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’ (P-1168)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia flabellata ‘Blue Angel’  full sun  partial shade  new plant

Promising plenty of nodding vivid blue-violet flowers brightened by white centers, this sturdy Columbine forms a tidy low growing mound with lobed deep green foliage. Nestled along a stone wall or garden path, ‘Blue Angel’ bestows enchanting detail.

Blooms April–early June.

Size: 8" high x 10" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aquilegia flabellata ‘Blue Angel’ (P-1057)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia ‘Kristall’  full sun  partial shade
Aquilegia  Kristall

In the woodland garden, its lengthy stems display large, pure white long-spurred flowers. For a spirited combination of blue and white, try planting this elegant cultivar with Brunnera ‘Dawson’s White’.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 2' high x 15" wide. Zone 3/4.

Aquilegia ‘Kristall’ (P-0020)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia rockii  full sun  partial shade
Aquilegia rockii

Some 75 years ago, Joseph Rock gathered seed from this elegant beauty in China’s Szechwan kingdom. Elevated on stems that mimic a dancer’s grace, the pendant flowers are richly colored in deep lilac shades. White-edged corollas enhance the large, short-spurred blooms above a pleasing foliar mound.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 15"–20" high x 12" wide; hardy to zone 6.

Aquilegia rockii (P-1246)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia vulgaris plena ‘Ruby Port’  full sun  partial shade

Exhibiting the easy elegance that assures Columbine’s well-known charm, exquisite short-spurred, double flowers dressed in deep ruby red hues rest atop long, sturdy stems like lazy nodding bells. Sumptuous against a winsome clump of bluish green ferny leaves, the blooms create an intoxicating color echo when combined with Epimedium x rubrum’s red blossoms and the dark foliage of Heuchera ‘Blackout’.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 2'–2-1/4' high x 15" wide. Zone 3/4.

Aquilegia vulgaris plena ‘Ruby Port’ (P-0428)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Leprechaun Gold’  full sun  partial shade

A merry union of speckles, splotches and streaks in Irish green, chartreuse and golden hues embellish each marbled leaf, rendering no two alike. Spurred deep purple pendulous flowers, poised on tall slender rosy stems lend splendid dark accents. Deemed the most treasured of variegated Aquilegias, this colorful Jelitto Seeds introduction gilds a shady nook, while a hard trim after blooming refreshes its leafy clump.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 2' high x 15" wide. Zone 3/4.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Leprechaun Gold’ (P-0800)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia vulgaris ‘William Guiness’  full sun  partial shade
Aquilegia vulgaris William Guiness

Highly ornamental, this sturdy perennial’s dark purple blossoms skirt white-white corollas. The dramatic contrast injects an element of surprise in the garden. Deeply incurved spurs stand sentinel over each nodding bloom, which rises 2 ft. on strong and lean stems from a leafy bluish green mound. Set this dark knight near the gilt foliage of Campanula ‘Dickson’s Gold’ for a captivating union.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 2' high x 15" wide. Zone 3/4.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘William Guiness’ (P-1098)
Each $7.00
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Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Woodside Gold’  full sun  partial shade
Aquilegia vulgaris Woodside Gold

We grew this unusual cultivar from seed, and its intensely golden springtime foliage gradually transmutes into light yellow summer garb, imparting a bright glow to darker garden corners. Gorgeous bicolored blue and rose blooms heighten the display while the deep greens of Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’ and Omphalodes ‘Joy Skies’ furnish an invigorating contrast.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 18"–2' high x 12"–15" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Woodside Gold’ (P-0917)
Each $7.00
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Latest News

Happy New Year

Thrilled by the prospect of fresh beginnings and another spring, we’d like you to know that the 2015 Digging Dog catalog, our 23rd edition, has been printed! With well over 90 diverse new offerings, plus many cherished older gems, this extraordinary collection of plants promises to delight, tantalize and inspire your horticultural interests, while assuring remarkable possibilities for an array of locales, including our drought-stricken Western states. If you’re already on our mailing list, be on the lookout for it’s arrival in the next couple of weeks. Or you may order a copy by clicking on the catalog link. Wishing you a great gardening year, and happy digging in 2015!

Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

Our favorite plant this week. We love Euphorbia ‘Helen Robinson’ because while the rest of the garden looks like winter, this plant looks like spring! From the robbiae side of the family, this choice, stalwart Euphorbia inherits its compact stature, shade tolerance, and handsome, stout rosettes of blunt-tipped, dark green leaves; the characias side contributes the good-sized chartreuse flower heads. In our garden, it acccompanies Anchusa with a carpet of Corydalis ‘Pere David’ skirting beneath.

More news, events, and favorite plants


Customer Comment:

“All the plants were in excellent condition when I received them...and all were a wonderful size....I couldn't be happier! Digging Dog Nursery is going to be **my** nursery from now on!”

~Karen in Pennsylvania


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