"I can remember childhood's haunted dells
And rainbow-dusted butterflies, that fled
To hide from me in Canterbury bells."
Campanula medium var calycanthema stands out very distinctly from regular C. medium. The variant "calcanthema" has enormous calyxes that match the color of the cup-shaped flowers, making the cup look as though it is sitting on a plate. Plus, the flower is overall quite a bit larger than regular Canterbury Bells. This variant has been commercially cultivated since 1889 when Veitch exhibited two varieties.
Cup & Saucer Canterury Bells has long held the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. They come in several colors, including the Lilac Blue shown here in a June portrait. Icy lavender spikes of flowers are so thick & heavy they will all but invariably require staking.
These are, alas, very shortlived in the garden, rarely returning for a second year of bloom, being biennials that produce basal leaves the first year, bloom the second year, then die. Nor are they as heat-hardy as many campanulas, so in warmer areas Cup & Saucers need some protection from harsh sun. Happily, here on cool Puget Sound, it wants full sun in fertile moist well-draining soil, & persists healthily throughout summer.
They bloom best from the tail-end of spring to high summer, but can be induced to keep blooming deep into autumn by deadheading. Pinching off the saucered cups one at a time as they turn brown, rather than cutting back the entire stalk, maximizes the length of time they will flower.
Dark Blue Cup & Saucer Canterbury Bells
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