inside, out, and all around

May 21, 2023  •  4 Comments

In between the most delicious and welcome rain showers this week, my camera and I were photographing numerous columbines.  The state flower of Colorado, the columbine is complicated and photogenic, and there are abundant species.  Here is an image I took years ago of a Rocky Mountain Columbine Aquilegia caerulea, along the Winsor Trail in the Santa Fe National Forest.  Needless to say, it was love at first sight and I have been growing and photographing different species ever since. 

Columbines - Rocky Mountain (Aquilegia cerulea)Columbines - Rocky Mountain (Aquilegia cerulea)KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Like breeds or species of all stripes, columbine come in different sizes, colors, and shapes.  To begin the parade is the columbine "Little Lanterns". In Latin, Aquilegia canadensis is diminutive.  Rather than unfurled petals, the little lantern hangs down from the stem, like a lantern, and more like a bud.  The spurs come together at the top of the flower.

Columbines - Little Lanterns (Aquilegia canadensis) 2 2023Columbines - Little Lanterns (Aquilegia canadensis) 2 2023

The image below was taken in the morning after one of this week's rains the evening before.

Columbines - Little Lanterns (Aguilegia canadensis) 4 2023Columbines - Little Lanterns (Aguilegia canadensis) 4 2023

Next in size is the columbine Origami Red and White Aquilegia caerulea, the same species as the Rocky Mountain Columbine, with similar structural features, but different color and size. 

Columbines - Origami red and white (Aquilegia x caerulea) 2 2023Columbines - Origami red and white (Aquilegia x caerulea) 2 2023

Columbines - Origami red and white (Aquilegia x caerulea) 4 2023Columbines - Origami red and white (Aquilegia x caerulea) 4 2023

The next two photographs are of a columbine Swallowtail Aquilegia species.  It has not yet completely opened, given the cooler temperatures.

Columbines - Swallowtail (Aquilegia species) 2 2023Columbines - Swallowtail (Aquilegia species) 2 2023

Columbines - Swallowtail (Aquilegia species 1)Columbines - Swallowtail (Aquilegia species 1)

Finally, McKana Giants Aquilegia mckana hybrida columbines, are the largest as far as the actual plant is concerned, with a maximum size of 36 inches in height.  It was a fascinating challenge to try to photograph these amazing flowers, inside the depths of the petals, outside the petals, and complete with spurs all around.

Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 9 2023Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 9 2023

Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 13 2023Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 13 2023

It was great to hear from so many of you last week, including Victoria, Barbara F. R., Char, Jean & Sam, Steve, Catherine, Marilyn, Connie T., Heather F. H., Lluvia, Robert, and Lawrence J.   I hope all of you are finding wonderful things to ponder and photograph on this exceptional planet of ours.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 


Heather Herd(non-registered)
I feel lucky to have been educated about the varieties of columbines! Thank you, Daryl. I’m excited to get out on the trail and discover them!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
Thanks for my weekly horticulture lesson, Daryl. The classic rocky mountain columbine is certainly an intricate flower. And the drooping little lanterns couldn't be more different from the Rocky Mountain. The shallow DOF is great in that image. The raindrops in image one say spring. And the columbine swallowtail looks like it's masquerading as a long-armed insect. I find both shots playful. The petals of the McKana Giants look like fabric. You've favored us with another stellar set.
Connie Taylor(non-registered)
Unparalleled grace and beauty. Columbines thrive in my gardens so I welcome them.
Exceptional flowers and photographs, Daryl.
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