Columbine ‘Nora Barlow’

Columbine 'Nora Barlow'Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata ‘Nora Barlow’

This old-fashioned double columbine, sometimes called Granny’s Bonnet, is a great self-sower and over time will create small colonies. Beautiful and graceful, I have mine with variegated hosta, barrenwort (Epimedium rubra) and lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) in a bed with morning sun and also in my front border with white bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis alba), foxglove (Digitalis), wild ferns and lambs ears (Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’), which also receives a half day of sun. Columbines will tolerate shade, but will bloom more profusely the more sun they get. Zones 3-10, easy grower, evenly moist soil in sun to part shade, pH 6-7.5 is ideal.

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About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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33 Responses to Columbine ‘Nora Barlow’

  1. Each flower is just perfect! Your photos are so loving of these little guys. First time I’ve seen that particular Columbine, Eliza. It is just lovely with your hostas. Best wishes, WG

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Thank you so much. I’d be happy to send you some seed later once they have set seed, if you are interested.

  3. Sharon K. says:

    These are gorgeous, Eliza! I’ve never seen double columbines. How long do they stay in bloom? They fade by late May here in Illinois.

    Your companion plants in this garden sound really lovely. 🙂

  4. Line says:

    Oooooh, Granny’s Bonnet!!!! How incredibly sweet and lovely!! I will forever call this flower Granny’s Bonnet!! It is so lovely and fairy-like! 🙂

  5. mk says:

    I really like the look of this Columbine. I may be way off base but it looks kind of chrysanthamum-ish. Wooohoooo it grows in zone 10! Oh no, it wants moist soil? Honestly, all that information about so many varieties of plants and all the nurturing they require… it’s kind of intimidating for a person whose expertise only extends as far as making sure my plants get water. It reminds me of when I decide to get healthy, and then I start reading about the nutrient options of so many foods, and then I get overwhelmed, and then I just get a multivitamin and hope for the best. 🙂

    • mk says:

      ps — Your photographs are really excellent. I really like the effect of the shallow depth of field.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      LOL – there is a lot to take in, I admit. It would only probably work for you to grow it in the shade in a pot through fall and winter and let it go dormant during the hot summer. But that is a guess, never having gardened in your climate. Best to ask a local nursery. I find it best to grow natives because they already are proven successes by virtue of evolution, so worry and fuss is minimalized.

  6. Treah says:

    Do you know if these are self-fertile? It seems I’ve had other colors of columbine here & eventually they’ve all ended up double dark blues which is lovely, but other colors would be nice to have. Maybe we could trade seed if you don’t have a dark cobalt blue double? The great thing about these wonderful self-sowers is that they wind up in odd corners here & there surprising you with a sudden, “hello”!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I think one or the other of us shared the Blue Barlow, as I have it. R. ended up with some showing up off her driveway! I will save a bunch of seed for you. They do show up happily in spots all around. I am growing quite fond of self-sowers. I thin them in spring and they can be moved easily to fill in blank spots.

  7. Jewels says:

    These are lovely Eliza! I’ve never seen this variety of Columbine before…

  8. I see you images and I just think to myself “Breathe. You can relax. It is all so beautifully balanced naturally.” I am not saying that was your intent, that is just what I took from it.

  9. Robbie says:

    lovely photos:-) You make me want this plant:-) I feel like a kid in a candy store when I look at photos of flowers blooming-I want one of every type!!! lol, I just can’t squeeze anymore in my space, but boy do I try:-)

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I know that feeling! I have the room, but not the time to take care of acres of gardens. That’s why I love the ‘wild’ ones best!

      • Robbie says:

        I feel the “wild” ones are the best because they are where all the hardworking critters live + you are just the person to do the job! We need more people like you in the world to own 7 acres in which they “care” for the land in the right way:-)

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Aw, thanks, I try to do my best. 🙂 Wild land is the best kind!

  10. These are so sweet! I don’t have this variety but may go looking for it!

  11. ladyfi says:

    REally gorgeous!

  12. Those are awesome shots, Eliza. Absolutely wonderful!

  13. cbeard0804 says:

    Thank you for sharing about this Aquilegia! It is nice to recognize some of the lesser known plant cultivars. Also appreciate your use of botanical/scientific names!

  14. Maria F. says:

    What an absolutely beautiful flower! Never seen anything like it!

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