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14th May 2024

Aquilegia, more commonly known as columbine or granny's bonnet, is an old-fashioned favourite. It self-seeds prolifically and hybridises quickly so can appear in early summer in new and unexpected colour combinations - something that has happened here, in Stanley Spencer's Columbines (1938, private collection). One of the best known aquilegias is A. "Nora Barlow", named after the Cambridge botanist who was the granddaughter of Charles Darwin and cousin of Gwen Raverat who illustrated The Runaway.

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