Aquilegia (common name: Columbine) is a genus of perennial plants found in many places across the Northern Hemisphere. I have seen many varieties across the UK on my travels this year, and they have also impressed in my garden. It is easy to understand why designers repeatedly select Aquilegia varieties for show gardens year after year.
After months of colour, and once pollinated, the flower petals will begin to fall, and you will notice that where there was once a flower head, a spikey crown of green tentacles emerges: the seed pod. You might be inclined to deadhead and cut back at this stage, but be patient! Give the plant time to produce the seed that it always intended to.
In the images below, you will see that when the green crown begins to turn brown, the tip will open, and expose the brown/black seeds. This is the plant’s way of telling you the seeds are ready for harvest. You will also be able to hear the seeds rattling in the wind. Carefully snip the tips that are ready for harvest, and place in a container. Once ready, use your fingers to gently squeeze the upside down crowns so that the seeds free from their casing. You will be surprised by how many seeds fall from each crown, which will be ready for germination and planting next year. Store in a dark and dry place, and be sure to label. Happy harvesting!