Campanula – Bellflower, Canterbury Bell, Harebell, Peach Bell, Bluebell, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

Campanula - Bellflower, Canterbury Bell, Harebell, Peach Bell, Bluebell, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

There is hardly a group of flowers which possess such rare beauty as does the large genus of Campanulas. There are many sorts, some growing inches high and some from 4 feet to 6 feet high, but all have more or less bell-shaped flowers in lovely colors: white, clear pink, blue, rose, purplishrose, violet-blue and lavender. All of them are desirable and seem to just fit in their various places from the formal border to the rocky ledges of the woods. Most of them bloom during June and July. The Canterbury Bells (Campanula Medium) and its cup and saucer variety (C. M. caly canthema) are perhaps the most showy and satisfactory of the whole group. The flowers are very large, in lovely white pink, blue and deep purple. The stalks of bloom are about 2 feet, tall and they are very effective when planted with the early blooming varieties of Phlox. The Peach Bells (C. persicifolia) grows from 2 feet to 3 feet high and its flowers, in blue or white, are more shallow than bell-shaped. It has narrow leaves and is very graceful. Of this species, Moerheimei is the best white; some sorts are double.

The Chimney Bellflower (C. pyramidalis) is the tallest one. It sends up long stalks of porcelain-blue and clear white flowers in August and continues blooming for six weeks. When in full bloom, the plant seems to form a perfect pyramid. Of the dwarfer varieties, which are beautiful and useful in rock gardening, the Carpathian Harebell (C. carpatica) is probably the most popular. It grows in dense tufts, not. exceeding 8 inches in width, and is covered with clear blue flowers borne on wiry stems. The Scotch Harebell, the Bluebell of literature, is the C. rotundifolia. It is an attractive flower having most dainty little bells of blue which appear during late Spring. This sort is found wild in many of the hills and mountains of our country and possesses a sort of unexcelled daintiness.

UTILIZE. The uses are almost as varied as the numerous forms. The dwarfer varieties are especially suited for small borders, for baskets and the rock garden. The tall ones, especially the Chimney Bellflower, are adaptable for pot culture or as specimen plants and make a beautiful decoration for the terrace or porch. The other varieties are excellent in the border or to use as cut flowers.

GENERAL. Campanulas should be given full sunlight and should not be crowded in the beds. The taller varieties need staking to prevent injury from the high winds. They like a good, rich soil, and in the Spring a little fine manure and some bonemeal should be dug around each plant. Most of the varieties, especially the taller ones, need Winter protection, for if allowed to stand naturally, the heavy snows will flatten the crown of leaves to the ground, causing it to decay. Forest leaves should be packed between the plants, holding the leaves of the Campanula together with one hand. Evergreen boughs, straw or hay will serve for the dwarfer ones. If the flowers are cut immediately upon fading, the blooming season can be prolonged for several weeks.

PROPAGATION. Most of the Campanulas are biennials. For this reason seed must be sown each year in order to have plants which will bloom the next year. A mistake, commonly made, is in sowing the seed too late. It should be sown any time from May until August, according to the variety, in rich soil which has been carefully prepared, and it should be watered daily. The plants should he hardened gradually, after they have been wintered over in coldframes, and can be removed to the open ground in May. The rows should be 12 inches apart, with an almost equal amount of space between the plants. Campanulas are also propagated by cuttings and division.

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