Aquilegia is a group of around 70 perennial species grown for their attractive bell-shaped flowers which have striking spurred petals. These are borne on long stems and they come in many colours - cultivated varieties in particular, are often bi- or multi-coloured. Distinctive bright green or blue-green leaves are divided into 2 or 3 lobes. Known also as Granny's Bonnets and Columbines, Aquilegias in the wild, are commonly found in meadow and woodland habitats at high altitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. They are therefore hardy and can tolerate some shade. Flowering in late spring and early summer, they add colour to a wide variety of garden situations. Under the right conditions, Aquilegias self-seed easily and can be seen growing in clumps and drifts in informal planting schemes such as cottage gardens. Small alpine varieties are also popular. Their preferences are for fertile, moist, well-drained soil; in full sun or partial shade. Alpine species require sharply drained growing media.