"As it will soon, in snowdrop, violet,
Wind-flower & columbine
& maiden's tear;
Each letter of that pretty alphabet,
That spells in flowers
the pageant of the year."
-Thomas William Parsons
'Green Apples' is a cultivar of Aquilegia clematiflora (aka A. vulgaris 'Clematiflora'). It is named for both its leaf color when the leaves first erupt in spring, & more especially its flowers. The budding leaves of mid-February are lime-green or the color of green apples, maturing to mid-green.
The flowers begin as nodding, flattened, apple-green buds, & open in extravagantly multi-petalled blooms. As this variety lacks the "spurs" at the rear of the blossom seen on the majority of columbines, it is left with a flattened wide appearance, with starburst points, quite different from any other columbines.
These flowers start out a liminous green closely matching the leaf color, but they soon fade to a faintly green-edged cream color, like the revealed pulp of a sliced apple. It is known sometimes to bloom later than most columbines, starting generally in July & lasting well into autumn, or first frost. But in our garden it starts booming right alongside the majority of our columbines, before the end of April.
The 'Clematiflora' hybrid varieties come in many other colors as well. They are all semi-doubles to near full-doubles, always with the flattened star aspect. They tend to be among the taller columbines, with a more than commonly refined appearance.
The sentiment that these flowers resemble those of double-clematis is merely a closest-case comparison, as there is really nothing quite like a spurless flattened double starburst columbine; & 'Green Apple' in particular could as easily be compared to a compressed double-gardenia.
'Green Apple' is adaptable to sun or part shade, but prefers at least a little protection in dappled sunlight to bright shade. Ours grows at the foot of a hornbeam tree & near an 'Apricot Suprise' deciduous azalea.
Columbine vulgaris vervaeneana
'Woodside Variegata' Blue
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