Friday’s Florals: Aquilega

Social Snappers Garden Columbines-

Also known as Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine.

Social Snappers Garden Columbines--2

The genus name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for eagle (aquila), because the shape of the flower petals, which are said to resemble an eagle’s claw. The common name “columbine” comes from the Latin for “dove”, due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together.

Social Snappers Garden Columbines--4

Columbine is a hardy perennial, which propagates by seed. It will grow to a height of 15 to 20 inches. It will grow in full sun; however, it prefers growing in partial shade and well drained soil, and is able to tolerate average soils and dry soil conditions. Columbine is rated at hardiness zone 3 in the USA so does not require mulching or protection in the winter.[7][8]

Large numbers of hybrids are available for the garden, since the European A. vulgaris was hybridized with other European and North American varieties. [9] Aquilegia species are very interfertile, and will self-sow.[10] Some varieties are short-lived so are better treated as biennials. The following hybrid cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit:

  • ‘Bluebird’[11] (Songbird series)
  • ‘Bunting’[12] (Songbird series)
  • ‘Dove’[13] (Songbird series)
  • ‘Florida’[14] (State series)
  • ‘Louisiana’[15] (State series)
  • ‘Origami Red and White’[16]
  • ‘Origami Rose and White’[17]

The British National Collection of Aquilegia is held by Mrs Carrie Thomas at Killay near Swansea.

Social Snappers Garden Columbines--8

Columbines have been important in the study of evolution. It was found that Sierra Columbine (A. pubescens) and Crimson Columbine (A. formosa) each have adapted specifically to a pollinator. Bees and hummingbirds are the visitors to A. formosa, whilehawkmoths would only visit A. pubescens when given a choice. Such a “pollination syndrome“, being due to flower color and orientation controlled by their genetics, ensures reproductive isolation and can be a cause of speciation.[19]

 Social Snappers Garden Columbines--10

Aquilegia petals show an enormous range of petal spur length diversity ranging from a centimeter to the 15 cm spurs of Aquilegia longissima. Selection from pollinator shifts is suggested to have driven these changes in nectar spur length.[20] Interestingly, it was shown that this amazing spur length diversity is achieved solely through changing cell shape, not cell number or cell size. This suggests that a simple microscopic change can result in a dramatic evolutionarily relevant morphological change.

Social Snappers Garden Columbines--9

Friday's Florals

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Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Anything that flies


Good morning from a hot and muggy day.  Yesterday we got well over 30 degrees celsius – 90 degrees fahrenheit which is unusual for this time of the year – we are in for a cracker El Nino season which apparently means a long hot summer.  I couldn’t move yesterday – it was just too uncomfortable.

So these photos for Cee Neuner‘s black and white challenge are just the images at the moment.  At least they were taken on a cooler day.  I know I have shown these photos in colour, but I was interested to see how they looked in monochrome.


I went to Westshore with some friends just to try and improve my reflexes taking photos of the gulls and terns in full flight.  I am getting better.

Sea Plane-

Then I found this photo of a sea plane at Lake Taupo.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Anything that Flies from birds to airplanes


Cee’s Fun Fotos: Kids With Toys

Children and Toys--2

Good morning from a glorious late spring day here in Hastings.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American blogging friends.  We are now into Thursday so I know that I am a day early for a lot of people but that is the fun of blogging around the world.


I do have a lot of photos of my children with their toys but they sit in a box and it is too early in the morning to go through my shoe boxes.  I think these are the last ones I had taken of them before they started getting wary of my camera poking in their faces.

Above is my son Martin with his Christmas present and trying to work out how to build something.  He only needed to look at the pictures and  he could build something.  He also loved building with Lego and would build and rebuild the trains or planes without any pictures or instructions.

I did try to get rid of my daughter’s foot but it is too early in the morning for me.

Children and Toys-

Then of course there are their bikes.

It is sad for me to say goodbye to Marilyn’s challenge over at


Things are going to be hectic leading up to Christmas so it is time to slow down a little and thank you Marilyn for your wonderful posts and photos.


Kids or Pets with Toys: Cee’s fun foto Challenge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Kids or Pets with Toys


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One Word Photo Challenge: Depth of Field

Depth of Field--5

Good morning from a cloudy and muggy day here in Hastings.

Last week my Social Snappers group had a magical time at this small garden.  The light was overcast and flat, so I was able to play around with the depth of field.  I love my new camera and it is so much fun trying out different effects and changing where my point of focus is.

Depth of Field--2

Some was easy to work out.

Depth of Field--3

While others were a little more difficult.

Depth of Field--4

As you can see the background became a pleasing blur to highlight the flowers. I was excited to get home and see these photos.

My entry for Jennifer Nichole Wells prompt this week, which is aperture.

One Word Photo Challenge: Aperture