Spring is the time for columbine. These hardy perennials are well known for their spurred petals but there are many varieties without spurs or with double petals. In fact, there are 60-70 species in the genus Aquilegia and many more hybrids featuring all types of petal colors and petal combinations.
In my Northern Virginia garden, I have a 7-year-old stand of columbine growing on the east side of the house where my garden hose is connected (but not tightly) so the plants receive morning sun, afternoon shade, and moisture from the water that leaks out of the spigot. Although columbine self-sows, it is easy to collect the seeds in the fall to give to others as gifts or to create new stands in other places. Columbine blooms in April and May resulting in seed capsules that dry on the flower stalks in late summer. By fall, some of these brown capsules have burst, releasing seed, but there are enough that you can cut the flower stalk into a paper bag to save the seed. By fall, the leaves die down and in the following March and April, the pretty scalloped leaves emerge again. A hummingbird favorite, columbine is an easy, low maintenance plant to grow and my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day selection for May.