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Plants Online - Canterbury-Bells

Plants for sale - Canterbury-Bells

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Canterbury Bell – Campanula Medium.
Hardy Biennial
2 to 3 feet.
Flowers of various colours, white, purple, blue, rose. June to August.

The Canterbury Bell, most satisfactory and beautiful of biennials, should find a place in the smallest garden. It is absolutely hardy, not over-particular as to soil, easily raised and grown, and the colours of its bells are peculiarly vivid and pure, without a suggestion of the mixed “dead” tints seen in not a few flowers. From a good strain of mixed seed single, double, semi-double and “cup-and-saucer” flowers may be obtained, in colours ranging from pure white through the palest blues and mauves, clear violet blue, light and deep purples, to a very lovely light pink or rose. There are also white flowers striped and splashed with shades of blue and purple. The Canterbury Bell is a strict biennial; therefore a stock of plants must be raised every year. It is important that the plants should be grown large and strong before the autumn; it is a fact not sufficiently remembered that the size and vigour of almost all biennials depends upon their being fully developed during their first growing season; directly the year is turned, the energies of the plant are devoted to flowering, and an undersized tuft or root, instead of increasing its bulk, spends its energies on producing a small spike of comparatively poor blooms. Early sowing is essential, and in soils that are not obstinate clays or water-logged a seed-bed may be made up in the open with the help of a little potting soil and leaf-mould about the end of April. The seed, which is minute, should be sown in shallow drills, and may be covered in with some potting soil. In a fairly moist and kindly spring the seed will come up freely, but if there is a drought, and the soil becomes cloddy or dusty, it will probably fail. To make safe, sow in boxes of sandy soil, and put in a cool greenhouse or cold frame, keeping moderately moist. Do not coddle the seedlings, but get them into the open air as soon as possible, and prick out nine inches apart on nursery beds in an airy position when they are large enough to handle. Weed and hoe during the summer; a top-dressing of old hot-bed manure and wood-ashes spread among the plants will forward the growth. By October the clumps should touch each other all over the ground, and each one, got up carefully with all its roots, should be as much as a man can lift comfortably on his fork. They may be put out in October or November in the places where they are to flower, or they may be left in the nursery rows till spring; the former is, as a rule, the better plan. Plants may be put out singly, or in groups of two or three in mixed borders; if there is room, a good bed or plantation of anything from a score to a hundred should be tried, planted a foot apart every way. In any case dig some well-rotted manure and old leaf soil a spit into the ground before plating. During the flowering season weeds must be kept down, and the surface of the soil stirred with the flat hoe; in droughty weather water should be given liberally in the evening, and the surface covered with dry soil, old potting compost, or the like, early next morning. Theoretically, a well-grown Canterbury Bell ought to be self-supporting, but in practice the pyramids of close-set flowers often suffer heavily from rainy gales, and it will be necessary in many cases to tie the main central shoot to an inconspicuous hazel-stick, and sometimes even to take a loop of bass round the spreading side-branches. There is one detail in the management of Canterbury Bells which the beginner should carefully note and remember. Directly the first abundance of bloom is past, all dead flowers should be snipped off with scissors. If this is done the plants will, in a short time, throw up a new crop of buds from the axils of the leaves, and flower again in August almost as freely as in June. If the weather is very dry at the first flowering a good soaking at the roots will help the appearance of the second crop. If the flowers are not cut off, but are allowed to seed, the plants in nine cases out of ten may as well be pulled up at once.

CANTERBURY BELL

Family CAMPANULACEAE
Campanula medium
Biennial/Annual

A native of southern Europe. The plant is biennial and reaches two to three feet. The flowers of the type are violet-blue, borne two or more together in long open racemes.

Campanulam. var. calycanthema is the Cup-and Saucer type. There are shades of violet-blue, pink and white in both forms.
From Greece, we have Campanula ramosissima (syn. Campanula loreyi), reaching up to nine inches high, with saucer-shaped flowers, one inch across, of parma-violet changing to white at the base.
Reaching a height of one and a half feet, Campanula thyrsioides, from the European Alps, is a somewhat hairy plant with lance-shaped leaves, up to three inches long, forming a rosette; the flowers are straw-yellow, of tubular form, rather small and borne in a close spike.
There are also a number of alpine forms. Of those named. Only Campanula ramosissima is annual. The seed of the biennial types may be sown in late summer, the seedlings pricked off into nursery beds for transplanting the following spring.

Propagation is from seed.

The flowering season is in summer.

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