Campanula – Bell flower. (see also
Various heights, colours in several shades of
blue, purple and white.
June to September.
The Bell Flowers are the largest and perhaps
the most delightful family of hardy flowers known
to the garden. They vary in height from four inches
to five or six feet; they comprise annuals, biennials
and perennials among their numbers; they are almost
without exception hardy, refreshingly healthy,
and “good doers”.
All alike prefer a good garden soil without extremes
wither towards clay or sand, and an exposure open
and sunny without being in the least parched or
The truly perennial sorts should be planted in
autumn or early spring, and may stand in one place
(with due attention to cleaning and top-dressing)
three of four years. The biennials and annual
sorts must be tended according to the directions
given for each variety. The following are some
of the most distinct and easily grown out of the
forty or fifty kinds known to the catalogues.
Campanula Carpatica. Hardy Perennial. About 1
foot. Flowers June – September, light harebell
blue on upright stalks. There is also a white
form. Plant in borders in November or March. May
be raised from seed sown in boxes in May.
Campanula Grandiflora – Platycodon. Hardy Perennial.
2 feet. Flowers in August, a flattened bell or
saucer-shape, blue. Grown in the same way as the
Campanula Glomerata Dahurica. Hardy Perennial. Eighteen
inches. Flowers June and July, deep purple, in
thickly clustered heads. Plant pieces of the roots
in autumn or spring, in perennial or mixed borders.
Campanula Latifolia Alba. Hardy Perennial. Five to six
feet. Flowers white, July. Not particular as to
Campanula Latifolia Van Houttei. Hardy Perennial. 2
feet. Flowers bell-shaped, dark blue, July and
August. Plant roots in borders.
Campanula Medium (see Canterbury Bell)
Campanula Nobilis – Punctata. Hardy Perennial.
Eighteen inches. Flowers in June and July, long
bell-shaped, white spotted inside with red. Rather
slender growth. Plant pieces of root in March.
Campanula Persicifolia – The Peach-Leaved Bell-Flower.
Hardy Perennial. Four feet. Flowers in June and
July, fine purple blue. Makes spreading tufts
of ground foliage from which the flower-stems
rise in early summer.
Campanula Persicifolia Alba – The White Peach-Leaved
This, the white form of the last (it differs in
several points besides the colour), is one of
the finest border plants in existence, and an
endeavour to grow it should be made at all costs.
Like the blue type, it makes a mat or clump of
low-growing leaves, but the flower stems are slighter,
and the spire of bells taller and more graceful.
The flowers are not far from the harebell shape,
and in colour a very beautiful, slightly bluish
white, which has a peculiar luminous quality under
evening light. The roots, which, as in many of
the Campanulas, make a network of running fibres,
should be planted in autumn on kindly soils, in
March where winters have been proved perilous.
The soil should be rich and fairly strong, a stiff
clay is not to be despised. Take care that the
fibrous roots be spread horizontally in planting,
and not covered too deeply with soil. When the
flower stems are thrown up, try if possible to
let them support themselves, as sticks are a peculiar
eyesore with this Campanula, but it is not likely
that the plants will entirely manage without help,
with an average summer’s rain and winds.
The best way of growing Campanula persicofolia is in
lines or large patches; isolated plants are not
nearly so effective as a regiment. Campanula persicofolia
must be carefully looked after in the way of breaking
up and replanting; when once a good stock of the
plant has been obtained, it is best to take up
some slumps every year, pulling them carefully
to pieces, and planting out small sections in
a nursery bed of good soil. Without consistent
renovation the clumps have a sad way of “going
thin” in the middle. And throwing up poor
spindling growth; and in a few years a garden
whose chief feature was its groves of white bells
may entirely lose the variety. New stock should
be obtained at intervals, and plants may be raised
from seed sown in boxes in May and given cool
frame treatment. There are two or three “improved”
strains of Campanula persicofolia alba, with somewhat
taller growth and larger bells, the best of which
is “Blackhouse’s” or grandiflora.
These may supplement, but should not supersede,
the type. There is also a double variety, plena
forming a spike of white rosettes, entirely lacking
the charm of the single bells.
Campanula Pyramidalis – Chimney Campanula. Hardy
Perennial. 4 to 6 feet. August. Light purple-blue.
Also Pyramidalis alba, like the last in all points,
except the flowers are white.
Though generally called a perennial, the Chimney
Campanula is by no means a stand-by such as Carpatica
or Persicofolia. Though it may occasionally survive
to a third year, as a rule it flowers itself to
death in its second summer, and is best treated
strictly as a biennial. Seed should be sown in
May or early June, in boxes in a cold frame or
greenhouse, or even in the open, if partial shade
and some defence from extremes of weather can
be given. The seedlings should be pricked out
in nursery beds, whose soil, if naturally at all
heavy, may be helped with some light stuff, leaf-mould
or potting soil. As the plant is not absolutely
hardy, it is best to avoid all risks by wintering
the seedlings under a frame. In March they should
be planted out in the places where they are to
flower, and the soil should be made thoroughly
good for them. It is important that the seedlings
should be well grown on, and should form stout
little tufts by the autumn, or they may flower
but feebly or fail altogether in the following
summer. A well-grown specimen throws up from four
to a dozen stout stems, which are clothed almost
from top to bottom with clustering bells. The
growth is succulent, and somewhat brittle, and
sticks and ties are almost inevitable. The blue
variety is very beautiful, but is surpassed by
the white; both may be grown together with excellent
effect. Groups of three plants will make effective
spires of colour in a border, and if space can
be afforded for a long line of clumps about a
foot apart, the resulting hedge of campanula (which
may be inconspicuously supported by a line of
tarred string stretched between stakes) will be
a memorable sight. When the flowering is over,
in some instances a side-growth of leaves may
be found at the base of the plant, which may possibly
survive to another season; but it is best to clear
out the old plants directly their display is over,
and have new seedlings ready to succeed them.
Campanula Pumila – Caespitosa. Hardy Perennial.
4 to 6 inches. White and blue, June to August.
A compact growing dwarf kind, covered with little
bell-flowers smaller than those of the wild harebell.
There is a variety with light purple-blue, and
another with milky white flowers. Though properly
a rock-plant, it will grow well in the open border
if the soil be not very heavy or wet. Plant pieces
of root at any time from November to March.
Campanula Turbinata. Hardy Perennial. About a foot high.
Flowers purple-blue in July.
The best of the lower-growing Campanulas. It forms
a thick tuft or bush, closely set with saucer-shaped
blue flowers as large as a half-crown, and when
once established will flourish for years without
further attention than a winter top-dressing.
The withered flower-stems should be carefully
pulled away at the annual clearance in November.
The plant may be raised from seed in the manner
recommended for other perennial bell-flowers;
the sowing may be made in May on a fine bit of
soil, or in boxes; the seedlings should be put
out in their permanent positions in autumn. Old
plants may be divided at any time before growth
is advanced; a clump should be forked up and cut
into sections with a knife; replant the outer
portions, which have good roots, either in nursery
beds or in new sites in the border.
Campanula Attica. Hardy Annual. Six inches. Flowers
violet, in July. Also a white variety.
A dwarf annual sort, free flowering; the seed
may be sown out of doors in April in good light
soil, or may be brought on under glass with the
half-tender things such as Stocks and Asters.
Campanula Lorei. Hardy Annual. One foot. Flowers blue,
July. An annual requiring the same treatment as
Campanula Speculum – Venus’ Looking
Glass. Hardy Annual. 6 to 9 inches. Flowers deep
purple in July and August. Also a white variety.
A pretty little annual with very small bell-shaped
flowers; seed should be sown in the open in patches
or lines about the beginning of April, and the
young plants promptly thinned out. It should require
no further attention.
See also BellFlower