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Aquilegia ‘William Guiness’
(Granny's Bonnet)


Item release date 1 September 2024.
Great for wildlife
Attracts Wildlife
75cm x 50cm
Partial Shade, Sun
Fully Hardy

Commonly known as ‘Columbines’ or ‘Granny’s Bonnet’ due to its nodding flowers that sit atop tall wiry stems. Aquilegia ‘William Guiness’ is a deciduous perennial with very unusual dark purple and white flowers. Adored by bees, this easy to grow cottage garden favourite will add plenty of early season colour to the border.

Additional information

Plant Type
Flowering Period
Flower Colour
Fully Grown Size
Garden Position
Light Level
RHS Plants For Pollinators
RHS Garden Merit Award
Pot Size
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This unique perennial features striking, deep purple and white flowers reminiscent of vintage Victorian-era attire, hence its name. Each bloom showcases a dark, almost black, outer petal, which contrasts elegantly with the inner white petals. Selected to form part of our range by our horticultural team for its exceptional beauty and garden versatility, 'William Guiness' adds a touch of old-world charm to borders, cottage gardens, or woodland settings. Its delicate, nodding flowers sway gracefully on slender stems, creating a whimsical and nostalgic atmosphere. With its RHS Plants for Pollinators award, it attracts beneficial insects, contributing to a healthy garden biodiversity. 'William Guiness' blooms profusely from late Spring to early Summer, providing a rich tapestry of colour and texture. Easy to grow and maintain, this Aquilegia is a must-have for gardeners seeking a touch of nostalgic elegance in their garden space. We recommend pairing it with other spring-blooming perennials for a captivating floral display, or let it shine as a standalone beauty. With its timeless style and enduring performance, 'William Guiness' is sure to become a cherished favourite in any garden design.

Planting Conditions

For optimal growth of 'William Guiness,' plant in well-draining soil with rich organic matter. Choose a location with partial shade, especially in hotter climates, to protect the delicate blooms from scorching sunlight. Ensure the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged, as this can lead to root rot. Plant in early Spring or late Summer, spacing them about 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper airflow and prevent overcrowding. These conditions will provide the perfect environment for 'William Guiness' to thrive and display its striking, deep purple blooms.

Watering & Feeding

Maintain consistent moisture levels by watering 'William Guiness' regularly, especially during dry spells. However, avoid overwatering, as this can cause root rot. Apply water directly to the base of the plant to prevent foliage moisture, which can lead to fungal issues. Fertilise the soil with a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in early Spring to provide essential nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant blooms. Reapply fertiliser every 4-6 weeks during the growing season to support continuous flowering. These watering and feeding practices will ensure robust growth and prolific blooming of 'William Guiness' throughout the growing season.

General Care

Regular deadheading of faded flowers encourages continuous blooming in 'William Guiness'. After the blooming season, prune back the spent flower stems to ground level to maintain the plant's neat appearance and stimulate new growth. Remove any damaged or diseased foliage promptly to prevent the spread of diseases. Additionally, dividing crowded clumps every 3-4 years rejuvenates the plant and promotes better flowering. With these general care and pruning practices, 'William Guiness' will remain healthy and vigorous, sharing its distinctive blooms year after year.