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Romantic, usually bobbing, often blue bellflowers are classic cottage garden plants. Tall types look like something straight out of a fairy tale garden, while ground-hugging types are good in rock gardens, more formal gardens, and many other situations. Most are perennial, but a notable exception is Canterbury bells, a stately biennial (it takes two years to bloom). Flowers come in blue, purple, white, or pink.
Shown above: Campanula carpatica
garden plans for Bellflower
more varieties for Bellflower
'Birch Hybrid' campanula
Campanula 'Birch Hybrid' is a groundcover that bears 1-inch-long fluted lavender-blue flowers from late spring through late summer if deadheaded. It makes a great rock garden plant. Zones 4-7
Blue Canterbury bells
Campanula medium 'Caerulea' is an old-fashioned cottage-garden biennial that sends up towering spikes of clear blue flowers. Zones 5-8
Campanula raddeana grows 1 foot tall and produces 1-inch-diameter bell-shape flowers midsummer. Zones 5-8
Campanula glomerata sports tight clusters of purple blooms on 2-foot-tall stalks in early summer. It quickly spreads to form a large mat. Zones 3-8
Campanula portenschlagiana is a tidy little groundcover or rock-garden plant that grows 4-8 inches tall and 2 feet wide. Violet-blue blooms adorn the plant in late spring to early summer. Zones 4-7
'Elizabeth' hybrid bellflower
Campanula 'Elizabeth', sometimes called Korean bellflower (Campanula takesimana), is an upright clump-former that grows 2 feet tall. It produces drooping pale pink flowers in summer. Zones 5-8
Campanula persicifolia grows a foot tall and wide with fine foliage. In early summer it sends up wiry stems with violet, blue-violet, pink, or white flowers. Zones 3-8
'Pearl Light Blue' Carpathian bellflower
Campanula carpatica 'Pearl Light Blue' has 2-inch-wide, cup-shape flowers that are light blue with a white center. It reblooms all summer if deadheaded regularly. Zones 4-7
'Pink Octopus' campanula
Campanula 'Pink Octopus' has unique flowers that look like a creature from the depths of the sea or outer space. Flowers with straplike pink petals rise a foot above the foliage on plants that spread to 18 inches wide. Zones 5-8
Campanula 'Sarastro' is completely covered in long, bell-shape, deep purple flowers on 18-inch-tall stems in early summer. It reblooms throughout the summer if faded flowers stalks are removed. It spreads to form a large clump. Zones 4-8
Campanula poscharskyana grows 4-8 inches tall and produces flaring lilac-blue flowers in late spring and early summer. It's perfect for growing in walls or between flagstones. Zones 4-7
White Canterbury bells
Campanula medium 'Alba' is a biennial that produces dramatic 3-foot-tall white flower spires. Zones 5-8
White peach-leaf bellflower
Campanula persicifolia 'Alba' bears pure-white flowers in summer. It grows 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-8
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The tall spires of a stand of foxglove, rising up in the garden in early summer, is a sight to behold. Most are biennials, that is, they need two years to bloom and then die in the fall. But if you can get a stand going, they'll reseed so prolifically it will seem they're perennials.To be successful with foxgloves, they must have rich, moist, well-drained soil and light shade, especially in the afternoon. (They'll do fine in full sun in the northern third of the country.) These tall plants also need to be out of any wind. Plants may rebloom if deadheaded after the first flush of bloom.
Phlox are one of those bounteous summer flowers any large sunny flowerbed or border shouldn't be without. There are several different kinds of phlox. Garden and meadow phlox produce large panicles of fragrant flowers in a wide assortment of colors. They also add height, heft, and charm to a border. Low-growing wild Sweet William, moss pinks, and creeping phlox are effective as ground covers, at the front of the border, and as rock and wild garden plants, especially in light shade. These native gems have been hybridized extensively especially to toughen the foliage against mildew problems; many recent selections are mildew-resistant. Phlox need amply moist soil for best overall health.
Also known as red valerian for its rosy pink flowers, Jupiter's beard is one of the longest-blooming perennials in the garden, provided you remove spent flower heads. Deadheading not only prolongs bloom, it also prevents self seeding. In some regions, Jupiter's beard has escaped from gardens and become a nonnative wildflower.