Plant Collector – campanula

I was given this campanula some years ago and if I ever had a cultivar name for it, I have long since lost it. But is it not pretty? I am particularly fond of blue flowers so this one, combined with pastel roses, has been delighting me. Looking on line, it may be Campanula La Belle but there are quite a few double selections available so it may not be. The flower spikes in late spring to early summer stand maybe 60cm high and don’t need staking. For the rest of the time, it just forms a neat plant, low to the ground with longish, narrow pointed leaves lying nearly flat. I will have only been given one plant but lifting and dividing it from time to time has now given me enough to cover a good area.

There are many different campanulas though I had no idea how many until I looked up the plant family. Some 500 different species count as quite a few, especially when one adds in subspecies, variants and hybrids. We have a charming one that grows in flat mats in the rockery and various different ones in other locations, including the form that is commonly known as Canterbury Bells. Some are annuals, some biennial (in other words they flower in the second year, set seed and die) and some are fully perennial. They are northern hemisphere plants spread across a huge range of conditions from alpine to subtropical. Blue is the most common colour, often with a lilac tinge, but there are pink or white options as well. In the wild, the vast majority will flower single. Double forms such as mine will have been selected out as unusual.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.