The columbine in Victorian gardens, as now, was one of the most beloved flowers. Requiring very little care, they could flourish just about anywhere. Hibberd states that a columbine should resemble a likeness in some way to a dove or a pigeon … in ‘a roundabout’ way.
The common columbine was a British plant, generally found in woods and coppices. When grown in the garden border it scattered its seeds plentifully, and thus required no particular care in propagation. By the 1880s the double columbines were as popular as the singles and, not producing any seed, were easier to control within the garden situation.
The columbines generally found in the Victorian garden wereAquilegia glandulosa, A. caerulea, A. Skinneri, A. truncata and A. Alpina.
In late Victorian times the ranks of the columbines were swelled with new varieties from Veitch and Son of Chelsea who regularly offered their new varieties at meetings of the Royal Horticultural Society and Royal Botanic Societies.
Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.