Aquilegias have the refreshing look of wild-flowers in a home garden, and that look makes it hard to weed them out when their self-sown seedlings spring up in the wrong places in the garden. Strangely, they would not willingly naturalize at my cottage, even though Aquilegia canadensis is growing wild in the area.
When I first started playing with sowing perennials from seeds, I was fascinated by Aquilegia, and ordered any Aquilegia seeds I can find in the catalogs (only a few kinds available in those days).
One problem with growing Aquilegia is they self-sow wildly, and effectively become messy weeds making maintenance of a neat perennial bed almost impossible. (I often treat them as ‘free filler plants’.) Dead heading is not a solution for me. They also cross pollinate easily between various types, and rapidly degenerate into the most common looking columbine. Since we still like Aquilegia, I adopted an approach to bring them under control (still trying) by allowing specific types and colour Aquilegias to self sow in their designated beds, and removing any deviations, and ‘diligently’ weeding out all seedlings in all other beds where I do not intend to have Aquilegia. It may not be a perfect or even a lasting solution, but it at least allows me to have a few varieties of Aquilegia around without their weed seedlings annoying me too much, and hopefully slow down the degeneration.
This is native to our area but it is not easy to see one in the wild.
Aquilegia canadensis ‘Corbett’
This is one of the most ornamental Aquilegiaswith its dainty small canadensis flower form and clear cream colour.
Aquilegia canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’
It is supposed to be similar in flower to the native canadensis but smaller flowers.
Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Black Barlow’
Who would not grow such a easy going black colour beauty.
Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Ruby Port’
I like its rich, dark red flower glowing in spring flower beds.
I have been sowing seeds of various varieties in recent years, but did not pay much attention to label them. All images from self-sow or unidebtified seedlings are named as NOID here.