Columbines in the Garden

Red Columbine

Red Columbine ©2008 Bo Mackison

I have collected seed from these columbine plants and grown them every year since I have had a home of my own. The original plants were cultivated by my grandfather in Illinois. I gathered seeds from his plants beginning in 1979 and have grown them in several gardens in Milwaukee and Madison.

Wild Columbine

Wild Columbine © 2008 Bo Mackison

They bloom from late May through early July and are a favorite with long-tongued bees and the hummingbirds.

Red Columbine

Columbine © 2008 Bo Mackison

Even the bumblebees get in the act to get the nectar, though they cheat. Since they can’t reach the nectar because of the columbine’s long slender tubes, they bite holes in the ends of the spurs to get some of the sweet stuff. More than one way to beat Mother Nature . . .

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. These are really pretty flowers, I love the fact you have being growing them of so long.
    I found your blog while adding you as a contact in flickr. I love your post about the Sherpa , congratulation on 32 years. He must really love you – camera equipment can be heavy! Now any tips on where I can find my own Sherpa?

  2. How beautiful that you are carrying on these seeds of your grandfather’s. They are beautiful. One of my favorite plants, although it only grows with much shade and water here where I live. Prolific and wild, though, in the cooler mountains nearby.

  3. Chris Osborne says:

    That’s more dedication than I’ve ever had with plants.

    I really like the water drops on each of them, especially the last one.

  4. Those are really beautiful flowers and even more so knowing their history! Very special!

  5. Liss – I’m never sure how I was so lucky to find my own Sherpa… think you have to do that on your own. 🙂

    ybonesy – my favorite, too. It never dawned on me that I posted this on the day before Fathers Day. Fitting tribute to a great (grand)father, though. I lived with my grandparents until I went away to college, and since my grandpa was retired and home and I was the only child in the house, he had a huge influence on me.

    Chris – just a huge love of world of flowers

    montucky – it IS a special history. Thank you.

  6. As usual, I loved all your photos, but these are extra special!
    The flowers are exquisite! Hmmm…I wonder if they will grow in Florida? I don’t think I have ever seen them.

    Have a wonderful week..we are looking forward to “seeing” more from your world!

  7. One of my favorite flowers Bo, nicely done !!

  8. lady.percy says:

    I like the first one best. Good work.

  9. Gandalf says:

    The columbine are gorgeous. The colors so very rich and full. I love the first one in particular. It looks like pinchers ready to grab something.

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