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Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 16 2017 at 10:58 PM
Donald  (Login Ornithophilous)
Hummingbird Member 2006

This is a nice compact cultivar of the eastern columbine. It grows not much more than a foot tall but is very floriferous and the flowers are a more intense red than the species. It also begins blooming about a week earlier than the species here. I started a bunch from seed I got in an exchange and planted them out in the hummingbird garden I take care of at a local park. They are in full bloom now and are putting on a nice show. They are short but would be nice in a container or, as here, on the edge of a raised bed:
IMG_1135
Donald
Zone 4 Red Wing MN
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This message has been edited by Ornithophilous on May 17, 2017 11:33 PM


 
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Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 17 2017, 5:25 AM 

A local nursery was selling little lanterns a few years ago but haven't seen them since. It is a nice contact plant especially for those with smaller spaces. Another one that does very well for me here is the desert columbine. It blooms later in the season but it blooms longer and the flowers have more yellow than red. It is a little shorter than canadensis but bushier
Penny
N.Ton.,NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 
Donald
(Login Ornithophilous)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 17 2017, 11:46 PM 

Penny:

Nice to hear from you. By desert columbine do you mean A. desertorum? I've grown that one, too, but can never get it to persist in the garden for long. I love the pale bluish foliage and orangey flowers. I've really enjoyed A. triternata, also from the southwest. It is larger in form and doesn't have the beautiful pale blue foliage of A. desertorum, but it blooms a full month later than A. canadensis so I can get extended columbine bloom in the garden. This year I've got three Aquilegia eximia I planted last year. They survived the winter with some extra protection and I'm hoping they bloom well and later in the season. They are off to a good start vegetatively, but so far no signs of flower buds. If I can collect seed, I'm going to see if the three plants can survive unprotected next winter.

Here is another gratuitous shot of the 'Little Lanterns':
IMG_1137

Donald
Zone 4 Red Wing MN
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Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 18 2017, 1:11 AM 

That is a very beautiful display Don! We struggle to keep any Columbine going in our super rich, moist soil, but a few always come back every season and grow where they want to. Amazing the one Columbine canadensis has never crossed with the few vulgaris plants we have growing, which amazes me. We have never observed any use of Columbine by the spring hummingbirds unfortunately, but I bet with a large area of red Columbine like this, they would use it---have you observed this? Also, these plants will only bloom in spring--what do you do with the area for the rest of the season? Anyhow, just gorgeous to observe.
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

[linked image]

 
 
Dylan
(Login utahxericman)
Hummingbird Lover 2016

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 18 2017, 9:55 AM 

Love all the blooms Donald looks great! I am growing two Serpentine Columbines as well, I ordered them over a month ago from Annie's Annuals I will be shocked if they bloom this year but they are off to a great start. I will keep everyone posted as they come along.

 
 

Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 18 2017, 12:02 PM 

Our Serpentine Columbine from Annie's Annuals that was planted last season definitely died and is not coming back. Dylan, I will be interested to see how yours does and if hummingbirds will use it---please keep us posted.
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

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D_Kleiser
(Login D_Kleiser)
Hummingbird lover 2011

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 18 2017, 11:30 PM 

Donald,
That looks like a great selection. And it reminded me it was time to deadhead my A. canadensis. I removed about 300 spent blooms/pods. Lots of buds coming, but I notice many will not develop without deadheading. The columbine is getting a little use.
Far west Chicago 'Burbs, Zone 5a
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Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 19 2017, 8:11 AM 

Donald
Yes I have the A. desertorum. Oddly enough it is growing in an area where the soil stays very damp most of the year except the hottest part of the summer. I was looking at the original plant yesterday and I couldn't get over how big it has gotten. I would like to get a few more stated.
Penny
N.Ton.,NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 
Donald
(Login Ornithophilous)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 20 2017, 12:16 AM 

Kathi:

I don't hold it against columbine that it only blooms during the early part of the season. I like the foliage so after it is done blooming and I've collected all the seed I want, I cut back the flowering stalks to leave the mound of foliage. If for some reason it still looks untidy, one can cut it all the way back and it will regrow a fresh mound of foliage. The foliage provides a nice green foreground for the taller hummingbird garden plants that bloom in mid to late summer such as Monarda didyma, Silene regia, Ipomopsis rubra, and Delphinium exaltatum.

One problem we have in the Upper Midwest is having blooming plants available when the hummingbirds return. Columbine is one of the few hardy species that blooms early enough for returning hummingbirds. When I am out birding in the spring in natural areas, I always look for hummingbirds where I find large patches of blooming columbine, large stands of blooming Ribes shrubs, or good patches of blooming spring woodland ephemerals such as Virginia bluebells. I think one is more likely to get visits to a particular species of plant in the garden when there is a large clump of them, so I try to plant enough of them together to draw the attention of hummingbirds and provide enough nectar to make a foraging bout worth their while and to encourage return visits.

In my old garden, I got regular early season visits to a large bank of native columbine that I planted. I haven't witnessed use of 'Little Lanterns' yet at the park garden I maintain, but this is a new plant for me and I haven't had the time to conduct a 'stake out' in the garden yet to check for use. This Sunday I hope to spend some time at the garden to see if it is getting used. We had a hailstorm earlier this week and about 4 inches of rain, and another inch or so expected tomorrow, so hopefully it will still be blooming nicely! I'll report back if I see any use.

Donald
Zone 4 Red Wing MN
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Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 20 2017, 1:34 AM 

Thanks Donald. It is such a beautiful display and too bad it's not available for the fall migration. That is one of the downfalls of using perennial plants. I give you much credit for designing this kind of a garden.

[linked image]
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

[linked image]

 
 

Jeff in WA
(Login kozmajm)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 21 2017, 1:38 PM 

Wow, very nice! I grow Golden-spur Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha), which is native to the SW US. However, I get very little use of it by hummingbirds. Oddly enough, the only bird I ever saw use it extensively was a female Calliope on spring migration a few years ago. The smallest of our hummingbirds was obviously able to reach the nectar in the long spurs. I had A. desertorum, but it got swamped out by the A. chrysantha. I do have a few natural hybrids in my garden between the two species, they are orange with flowers having intermediate length spurs. Here is a part of my columbine patch in full bloom...taken today.

Aquilegia_chrysantha_2017%201024x576_zps

Jeff
Click for Forecast for 98901 from weatherUSA.net

 
 
Donald
(Login Ornithophilous)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 21 2017, 10:26 PM 

I went to the park hummingbird garden today to see if the 'Little Lanterns' was getting attention from hummingbirds. When I approached the garden, I flushed a hummingbird from the columbine. It was a male, and he flew to a branch in a shrub about 15 feet away from which he had a good view of the columbine--sure seemed as if he was guarding the patch. In the 20 minutes I was there, no other hummingbirds arrived to challenge his claim so I didn't get to witness any skirmishes.

Jeff:

Nice shot! Beautiful flowers--your A. chrysantha is very floriferous. Do you ever notice any hawkmoths on it? Like Rocky Mountain columbine (A. caerulea), it is primarily hawkmoth pollinated in the wild. When I did field work in Colorado, I went through fields of abundant A. caerulea daily to get to my field site and only once saw a visit by a hummingbird to a flower. I don't think they produce as much nectar and those spurs are very long and narrow.

Don
Zone 4 Red Wing MN
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Joni
(Login Yodlei44)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 23 2017, 7:06 PM 

Wow, Donald, that is quite a patch of red. I grow "Little Lanterns" & it does reseed but only very gently. I usually end up with 2 or 3 plants nearby.

Jeff,
That is also quite a patch of yellow. Very nice looking!

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5
[linked image]

 
 

Jeff in WA
(Login kozmajm)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 24 2017, 5:38 PM 

Thanks, Donald and Joni. Donald, I've never seen hawk moths at it, though they do visit my other "hummer" plants like Bee Balm and Agastache. I have seen bumblebees on the A. chrysantha; they don't get the nectar, but they rummage around on the anthers and collect the pollen.

Jeff
Click for Forecast for 98901 from weatherUSA.net

 
 

Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'

May 24 2017, 5:54 PM 

Jeff,

What beautiful Columbine. We tried to grow this plant once and it bloomed a little and then promptly died after one season!!

[linked image]
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

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