“Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities in the world.”        

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunset over the Flattops,

Aquilegia coerulea
Aquilegia is the genus, coerulea is Latino for “sky blue.” It is also of the Ranunculaceae family, a type of buttercup. The Colorado Blue Columbine is native to the Rocky Mountains and is usually found at elevations between 6900’ and 12,100’, although I have had moderate success at growing them in my own garden at 4700’. My challenge on the arid Colorado prairie has been to keep them moist enough. Stray blooms can be found just about anywhere in the mountains but they are more prolific in areas that get some shade, like moist meadows and recessed areas that collect more moisture. They are a favorite of hawkmoths (sphinx moths), and are also pollinated by bumble-bees and some flies. The Blue Columbine is the Colorado State flower.