I have a love-hate relationship with Columbines. Well, hate is an awfully strong word… I guess it’s more of a love/slight annoyance kind of relationship. The Aquilegia – or Columbine – is one of those plants, that once you have invited it into your garden, it will never, ever leave. It will self-seed profusely, and show up where you least expect it (or want it), and to some extent, you end up relinquishing all control. But that is not the greatest reason for my annoyance. The truth is that their chosen spot is often enough a lucky accident, and I am quick to forgive it. No, it is my reluctance in pulling the abundant seedlings out that is annoying. You see, seeing the accidental outcome has become somewhat addictive for me. You just never know what you’re going to get – or where it is going to show up, for that matter. Pulling them out prematurely would be a little like tossing out a lottery ticket before the winning numbers have been announced. It’s a gamble!
Back in the day when certain subjects were too taboo to air publicly, flowers and their arrangements served as a coded language with which to express thoughts and feelings of a more sensitive nature. If, in Victorian England, you were the recipient of a Columbine – Heaven forbid! – it implied that you had a reputation for promiscuity.
I can totally see why. As I’ve watched the three Columbines I voluntarily granted entry mingle over the years, some pretty awesome results have ensued from their sexual interactions with one another. As with us humans, crossbreeding can yield some pretty striking results. My kids are half-Swedish, and half-Filipino. They are stunningly beautiful! Okay, fine – I am probably somewhat biased in this assessment, but you can see for yourself what I mean. At the end of last year, National Geographic came out with an issue in which they took a look at the New Face of America. In it, they examined how the complexity of race, identity, and appearance is far greater than what will fit into a mere checked box on an official form from the US Census Bureau. In customary NG fashion, stunning photos make up a great part of the story. The article is littered with mesmerizing portraits of some uniquely beautiful humans. It may sound silly, but the blossoms resulting from the vivacious, procreational romps of my three Columbines fill me with the same awe as the faces in that article. When you approach the zest of life without the self-imposed limitations of names. labels and categories, the most beautiful things allow themselves to happen!
So, the original three I granted access to my front garden were:
Before long, the loveliest little hybrids began appearing throughout the garden:
I’m not sure what other surprises my seedy little wildcards have in store for me, but I’ll happily wait and see. I’m sure they’ll come up with more interesting variations that will continue to blur the lines of convention and further the species in one way or another. Actually, that can be said for both Columbines and other creatures. Vive la diversité!