Aquilegia vulgaris 'William Guiness'

granny's bonnet (syn Magpie )

The pied black and white flowers of William Guinness shimmer and any white spring flower enhances its power, or thread it up through the metallic Eleagnus ‘Quicksilver’

Val Bourne - Garden Writer

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  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: average
  • Flowering period: May and June
  • Hardiness: fully hardy

    Eyecatching, purple-black flowers with contrasting white centres appear in late spring and early summer above fern-like, mid-green leaves. The unusual flowers of this old-fashioned columbine look equally at home in a cottage garden setting or in a more modern scheme with ornamental grasses. Although it is short lived, given well-drained, moisture retentive soil, this plant self seeds freely.

  • Garden care: Lift and divide large clumps in early spring and apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost around the plant. Divided specimens may take some time to establish since they dont like having their roots disturbed. Contact with the sap may cause skin irritation.


Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'

black mondo

Almost black, grassy foliage

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Geranium sanguineum 'Album'

bloody cranesbill

Pure white flowers in early summer

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Astrantia 'Hadspen Blood'

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Sultry, dark red flowers

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Aquilegias - Top of the nectar table

These cottage garden essentials take their name from Aquila, Latin for eagle, because the nectar-rich spurs at the back of the flower resemble eagle's talons. Their other common name, columbine, is also related to a bird. If you turn the flowers upside d

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