What do you do when you can't give your mom flowers? Give them to someone else. So this week we are sending out spring flowers to my friend Kim who loves to grow flowers and lost her mom this past year. Damn moms. Can't live forever.
I've always liked columbine and until a few years ago could never really figure out how to cultivate it. The trick that I learned, which seems to be true of many native plants, is to not disturb them. For years I monkeyed with my flower beds almost year round. Adding compost, covering them up, uncovering them, loosening the soil the first sign of spring. All of that can be well and good but many native plants don't like being disturbed before it's time to rise in the spring. For the columbine, I've set aside an area at the edge of a large fir tree. After the flowers bloom, I take the seed heads and scatter them about in the pine straw. Then I wait until I see little sprouts popping up and those I carefully transplant as I expand the area that contains the columbine. It's a lot less painful than trying to raise them in flats indoors. And once you get a few plants established you can begin to generate lots of seeds.