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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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I’ve Got the Camp-anula Glom-erata Blues!

Campanula glomerata, the species, from glomerata, the species, planted over fifteen years ago, is gone. In a garden where neatness was paramount, it was an unwelcome visitor. It appeared messy in a new flowerbed that was barren and sparse, because all of the infant perennials were too tiny to fill up negative spaces. Furthermore, it self-seeded beyond my ability to control it. In addition, it sprawled all over, spread too quickly, bloomed for only two weeks, which is too short a time, didn’t look impressive, and didn’t project from far. Eventually, it was discarded when I found it wanting. I was happier gardener without it.

Today, my garden is filled with mature, stately perennials. There is less room for plants to self-seed. Large swaths of pastel colored flowers, that over time filled in the sparseness, are now better able to benefit from a  campanula's blue flowers. Furthermore, the hard-packed earth of yesteryears, that made maintenance a challenge, has been amended so that it is soft and workable. Plant spread is easier to control, seedlings are easier to dig out, and there are enough stately perennials in the bed to enhance lower growing plants.

I've begun to give Campanulas another chance; after all, they are blue - my favorite color. Two new varieties of Campanula glomerata attracted my attention. However, I am skeptical about the long term because I am not a diligent deadheader and that is what is required to keep the plants blooming throughout the summer.

Campanula glomerata Superba from Seemnemaailm.eeTwo years ago, I planted Campanula glomerata Dahurica in a client’s garden and I was happy with its performance.

Campanula glomerata Freya from Last year, I planted Campanula glomerata Freya in my own garden and was more than pleased.

A one and two year span is too short a time for a gardener to report definitively about these plants. Therefore, all I can share is that they appear to be neat, they bloom for two or three months, and they make me very happy. The technical information about them, that follows, has been gleaned from the trade.

Campanula glomerata Superba from Robsplants.comCampanula glomerata dahurica 'Superba' has bell shaped flowers that are purple-blue with a glistening almost metallic sheen; they are borne in clusters atop stalks twenty inches tall above the basal foliage. Its thick, low growing and spreading clump should be dug up for division every third or fourth year. Promising to bloom from May to July, if spent flowers are deadheaded and foliage trimmed, the leaves will usually induce a second flush of flowers and the plant will be less likely to reseed vigorously. This sun-loving perennial will be long-lived only if it receives regular irrigation, as it is not drought hardy.

Campanula glomerata Freya from Whiteflowerfarms.comCampanula glomerata Freya is shorter than Dahurica; it grows only sixteen inches tall. However, blooms make up about two thirds of its height. Instead of bells, full clusters of small star-shaped lilac-purple flowers are borne almost all the way up the stems. Unlike other glomeratas, this variety is more floriferous. Like other glomeratas, it requires dividing every three to four years and spent flowers must be deadheaded. It is sturdy, non-invasive, and compact. While this perennial may be planted in full sun or part shade, it grows taller in the shade. At this time, there is no consensus on how long Freya will bloom. Some promise that itwill flower continuously from May to August, some say May to July, and others report May and June. Mine need another season before I can report accurately on this subject.

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Reader Comments (1)

You are speaking to the choir here! My husband decimated parts of my perennial rock garden this year because he hated the stuff so badly for all of the reasons you mentioned above. He was so "enthusiastic," he accidentally pulled out some of my other flowers. It was worth it, though. That type of bellflower has a root that acts just like a dandilion and can travel a long distance in a short time...and we live in Anchorage, Alaska. I can't imagine what it can do in other parts of the world!

Oh, and I really wouldn't try the "glomerata" variety again, if I were you. It was pushing it's way through some of my hardiest and most mature plants (like my daisies and my sedum, for example) We know we still haven't gotten rid of all of it...I'm sure it will be an ongoing battle for a few years.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Kellen Biegel

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