About Good Scents

The cut flower business ended in 2011 but I continue to post other items about gardening.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Campanula persicifolia (Peach-leaved Bellflower)

I was thinking about how to describe the a bellflower. The white ones have a shiny, waxy quality that makes them almost look like they are made of super thin, translucent porcelin. Bellflowers tend to be supporting players rather than stars in both bouquets and perennial borders, so it is one of those things that I only notice about them when I really take the time to notice them, if you know what I mean. It made me realize that there isn't one of these flowers I grow that I don't think is beautiful. The biggest difference is that some, like a peony or dahlia, are beautiful from 5 or 10 feet away while others only become really gorgeous and fascinating when viewed close up. Sitting here with the cold and snow outside I remember that one of the pleasures of growing and working with flowers all the time is that I have so many opportunities to appreciate them.

White peach-leaved bellflowers

There are many different bellflowers but the one I was talking about earlier is the peach-leaved bellflower, Campanula persicifolia. The 1-2 inch flowers are either blue-ish purple or white and come on stalks maybe 2 feet high. The petals are fused into an elongated cup or bell, hence the names.

In the garden bellflowers bloom in early to mid June but will merrily keep going if you have the patience to go out every day and pinch off any flowers that have faded. I read this someplace and tried it one season and it really works. Unfortunately, it isn't the kind of thing I'm really going to make a practice of doing, I'm just not that kind of gardener.

Bellflowers are easy to find in the spring in 3" pots or you can grow them from seed by surface sowing the dust-like seed. However you get them, it is better to have a good clump or at least 6 plants to make much of a show. As I said, the flowers are very pretty close up but in the landscape you need a lot of them to make that "drift of color" the garden books are always talking about.

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