Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Campanula incurva - plant portrait

One of my favorite new plants this year was Campanula incurva.- - a rock garden bellflower with large blooms, almost as big as Canterbury bells (Campanula medium), but flowering on very short stalks and all the bloms facing up, so they look good from a distance or seen close-by.

Campanula incurva

Unfortunately, this bellflower has one drawback, it is monocarpic, which means that it is one of those plants that can survive several years, but the year they bloom is the year they die!

Not very surprising when you consider how much bloom our plant produced. It must have simply exhausted itself.

The above picture was taken at the end of July, and the plant has been in bloom ever since. Although for the last two months it has not flowered as profusely. 

Still, as you can see from the picture below that it is still sporting some buds in the middle of November and after two nights when temperatures went down to -3 C.

I hope against all reason that it will survive the winter as the plant shown above is a side shoot that has developed from the mother plant this summer. Perhaps side shoots can survive? However the fact that despite the frost, it is still lush and green, which means not going dormant, is not a good sign.

Also called Campanula leutweinii, it is supposed to be hardy to zone 6. The garden here is in zone 5, and we have it  growing in a raised bed which means that it is in a spot colder and more exposed to the weather than the rest of the garden.

It apparently can grow in full sun to partial shade. Here it is in the sunniest place in the garden.

I have had it for three years, a gift from our friend Bill Snowden who, I believe, grew it from seed.

This year was the first year and presumably the last, that it bloomed. It also comes in blue. Ours was white, but with a faint tint of blue. We had two plants of it. Here is the second one. When it started to bloom, it quickly spread out and swamped its neighbours. It was too attractive to be ruled in.

Campanula incurva
In previous posts, I mentioned the grafts I had made on an apple tree, complaining that these grafts took, but the tree did not produce.

I was too impatient.

After being grafted five years ago, this year the tree was covered with more apples that we can use or give away. There are still lots that will, no doubt, be composted.

Some noticed I had not been writing as much recently. I have decided to take a "blogging holiday". I should no doubt be back in the spring, if not before.


  1. That is a spectacular Campanula - absolutely lovely! I am impressed that your apple graft has finally fruited. It may have taken its time, but it was certainly worth the wait. Enjoy your blogging holiday - I look forward to reading more about your garden next spring.

  2. You might have a holiday but you will never rid yourself of the blogging bug.
    I know to my cost!

  3. I planted a balloon flower plant at the old house in the little triangle patch. By the second year it owned the triangle, and I liked it so I made no attempt to contain it. I brought a start with me in July, and it now owns the section I planted it in, though it has not bloomed here. And, of course, I know nothing of its behavior, so perhaps I brought a cutting that will produce next year. I love the flowers! Mine are less bell shaped, more like balloons, but the leaves are the same.

  4. Have a great time whatever you're doing over the winter!

  5. Enjoy your winters rest. Your campanula is beautiful, such a shame it dies after flowering, seedlings in the pipe line must be the answer.

  6. Will the campanula produce seeds that you can sow. If it does will they come true to the plant or is it a hybrid? How exciting and satisfying to have you you're very own apple tree.

  7. The apples are impressive! (successful) fruit trees are kind of a mystery to me.
    The campanula has been added to my wishlist, hopefully yours will return for another year at least.
    Good to see you back but do enjoy your break.

  8. Wow, those Campanulas are stunning! I didn't realize they were like Sempervivums in their maturity/grow/death patterns. Keep us posted on them next growing season!

  9. Absolutely spectacular bell-flower. Wow! too bad that it dies the year it flowers. I wish it would flower like this every year.

  10. Hello Alain, I guess you and the garden are bunkered down for the winter. In colder or more extreme temperate climates, there's a much clearer distinction between when it is and simply is not possible to work in the garden. UK winters are generally dull and wet but rarely adverse enough to stop working outside altogether, which makes "taking a break" feel like a guilty pleasure.

  11. Hi Alain, My plants all bloomed and though there seemed to be lots of pollinators about no seed was set. All plants are in decline and will probably not survive. Bill

  12. I love campanula as well, Alain. Your photos are pretty and remind me the beauty I had in my garden. Campanula is annual and I always forget to collect its seeds.


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