Columbine

My uncle grew columbines in his garden. They were pretty flowers but I never thought about where they came from. Flowers came in seed packets or flats from the nursery.

On one corner of the property here the road cuts through a piece of bluff rock. It stands fifteen feet over the road.

columbine on rock

A rock crevice with a pocket of dirt is enough to grow a columbine.

Erosion has cut holes in this rock. Cutting through it for the road left ledges. Over the years dirt has accumulated in these places.

Rocks would seem inhospitable for plants. They are dry. They are too hard for roots. But seeds land in those pockets of dirt.

columbine flower

A spray of yellow stamens hangs down from a light yellow petticoat of petals with a deep pink skirt of sepals forming a columbine flower.

Each spring columbines send out their new leaves. Warm weather brings flowers. Each pocket has a single plant.

Ledges have communities. Rose verbena and columbine make a pretty bluish purple and pink bouquet.

columbine and rose verbena

Dirt on a ledge is home to a larger columbine and several rose verbenas on the Ozark road cut bluff.

These columbine plants aren’t very big, nothing like those my uncle grew. His were just part of a garden. These dress up a piece of rock looking much finer for their precarious perches.