Granny’s Bonnet

Aquilegia also known as Columbine or Granny’s Bonnet are flowering here there and everywhere in my garden now. For such dainty little flowers they are very tough, prolific self-seeders and come back ever year in greater numbers throughout our garden. I weed them out early on in places that I’m fussy about. But apart from that they are lovely to have as they provide such early summer flowers of all colours and shapes to enjoy. The colour range available covers nearly every colour and some acquilegias are bi-coloured or with different shades of the same colour for the sepals and petals. Decorative clumps of its greeny bluish leaves are formed in spring at ground level and can sometimes be mistaken for weeds so be careful if you plant some this year to remember the location next spring. Aquilegias are very easy to grow. I have some in a bed against a shady wall and in gravel where it seeded itself. They bring a lovely cottage style sense of charm to the area.

In the shrub department Ceanothus is looking lovely now. This is an evergreen shrub that will be covered in fluffy powder blue flowers in May and June. It needs a sunny site with well-drained soil. Ceanothus will encourage birds, butterflies and other pollinators to frequent your garden too. This will get big so plant it at the back of the border.


If blue is a favoured colour try planting the blue hued grass, Festuca Glauca. It looks great in a terracotta pot against a pink wall in my garden. It will do nicely in a bed too but should be used for contrast since its colour is so nice.


Things to do this week….


-Give outdoor furniture, gates and sheds a coat of paint or varnish, clean flower pots and remove weeds from paths and walkways, power hose and scrub down decking and patio areas. Dust down the barbecue too, even if you have to cook under a brolly your burgers will always taste better!  All this will freshen up your garden instantly and should spur you on for a summer of outdoor activity and enjoyment. What a bonus it would be if we get the sunshine too!


-Plant out courgette plants once hardenend off. Be prepared for them to look a bit shook for a while until they recover! Kick start growth by feeding about one week later.


-Plant out Dahlias and Canna lilies.


-Mark clumps of spring bulbs that need lifting and replanting in autumn so that you will know where to find them. I am determined not to forget to do this again!


-Water strawberries, despite the recent rain young plants will still need it.


-Check wall ties and supports for climbing plants before a new season of growth adds more weight (and an unexpected howling gale in July pulls down your clematis).


Written by

I am passionate about gardening and creating outdoor spaces that are gorgeous, adventurous, productive and fun. I have been advising and designing gardens for many years starting with friends and family as well as developing my own garden design in Cork near Crosshaven. I have been doing this whilst bearing and rearing our four children, who also garden with me and share my interest and passion, especially in the vegetable and fruit garden. I am the Gardening columnist for the Cork Independent free newspaper. I take all my own photographs for my articles on gardening and will also customise cards for clients using photographs taken in their home and garden.

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