Plant of the Week: April 28, 2022

Every time I see a Texas Gold columbine in bloom I reach for my camera. This is the perfect shade of yellow – just enough green in it to keep it cool and refreshing. I love this bouncy little flower.

This is simply a great plant. Found and developed by one of Texas’ all-time finest plant people Greg Grant, along with support of Texas AgriLife Extension Service co-horts Drs. Jerry Parsons and Steve George, Texas Gold soon rose to Texas SuperStar® designation.

The crazy thing is that the mama plants came from a spring-driven wetland in ultra-arid Southwest Texas out in the Big Bend Country.

When Texas Gold columbines bloom, it’s as if they’re in a floral bouquet designed by nature.

So, back to my first time to see this plant. It was at a gathering of horticulturists at the lovely College Station home of Dr. William Welch. (I’m dropping names like a hailstorm here – the best names our state has to offer.) Bill had it growing alongside his driveway and we all came out to ogle it.

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By the next spring I had some of my own, and I’ve never looked back. In fact, some years later Lynn and I hiked to a remote waterfall in Big Bend National Park where I knew that there was another small stand of its mother plants growing.

My Facebook friend Lolly E. posted this image several years ago. Obviously, she loves Texas Gold columbines as much as I do.

The simple facts to know…
Most people who try this plant do very well with it.
Shade or early morning sun with afternoon shade. Think of what you’d give hostas, ferns, summer phlox, hellebores, ajuga and oxalis and it will do wonderfully right alongside them.
Give it rich, consistently moist garden soil. Think of it growing alongside those waterfalls with mist splashing all around it.
Its handsome blue-green foliage shows up in late fall and early each spring, then gradually dies back a month or two after the plants finish blooming.
Texas Gold columbine is a short-lived perennial (2-3 years), but it reseeds itself freely.
Mulch your beds with compost or shredded tree leaves. As seedlings emerge you can easily dig them out and replant them into the same bed or into one of mine.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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