Columbine, Rocky Mountain (Aquilegia caerulea)
Sun or part shade
Late spring to early summer
Not fussy as long as not too wet or too dry
18 to 24 inches
Blue and white
Zone 3 - very hardy. nave to Rocky Mountains
Mixed borders. wild flower gardens. naturalizing. cutting
Fairly undemanding. Longer lived than many columbines. Will self sow but not aggressively.
Columbines are long-time favorites in the perennial garden. They have a beautiful, unique flower shape that I am never quite able to explain. They flower late spring to early summer - and longer during cool, wet summers. The plants prefer a moisture retentive soil rich in organic matter and light shade or dappled sun. Columbines will tolerate drier soil and fuller sun but blooms will not last as long. Likewise, they can take heavier shade but flowering will be less profuse.
McKannas range from 2 to 3 feet and come in a wide range of colors. Nora Barlow is about 2 feet has a lovely spurless flower that is red with white tips. Both are beautiful as cut flowers. Space plants about a foot apart. Division is not needed or recommended.