Biedermeier Dwarf or Nosegay Columbine;
aka, Siberian Columbine 'Biedermeier Strain'
"Columbines, in purple dressed
Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest."
- William Cullen Bryant
Aquilegia x sibirica 'Biedermeier' is more compact & shorter than most hybrid columbines, so is nice set more forward in a garden. It will usually stay in the foot-tall range, or eighteen inches when fully flowered.
This one is ensconsed at the base of a columnar hornbeam tree near the Loder's White rhododendron, hemmed in by the leafy textures of heuchera, cranesbills, & hardy fuchsias, among which it is the only plant with a strikingly upright stance, the flower stems becoming rigid blue-headed sentinals.
To me its most interesting feature is how the spurred flowers face upward, whereas the majority of columbines nod. 'Biedermeier' is a strain rather than a single cultivar, & has several colors, but ours is a mid-blue, flowering May & June, with rebloom if deadheaded before seeding.
Exceedingly cold hardy, wintering at minus 40 to 30 degrees F., it can be grown even in zone 2, though zones three to nine primarily. It's not heat-hardy & will need summer protection in USDA zone 9 if it is not to go dormant.
If the ground does dry out during a hot summer, dwarf columbine will die back prematurely, & emerge the following spring still a small clump. If kept moist it will persist into autumn & generally rebloom, then die back for winter, emerging in spring as a larger clump.
Biedereier dwarf columbines constitute an old strain & are very reliable for stunning flowers & beautiful foliage, though shortlived & wearing out after a very few years. It self-sews freely, but the seedlings are apt to turn out to behybridized with any nearby columbines.
Columbine flabellata var pumilla 'Nana Alba'
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