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I Love This Plant – Campanula ‘Bernice’

I love this Campanula: Campanula trachelium ‘Bernice’. It is a perennial that I didn’t bring with me when I moved to Poison Ivy Acres, so I’ll need to start with new ‘Bernice’ plants next season.

For me this plant grew to about 2 feet high in a part-sun garden. As long as it gets at least four hours of sun including the noon hour, it’s fine. ‘Bernice’ bloomed in late-June into mid-summer for me – I read that you can extend the bloom by deadheading, but I wasn’t about to go out and use tiny scissors to remove the faded flowers. The technique that suits my time for gardening is to let the plant do its thing and once it is no longer attractive, cut it to the ground. I do this with the June blooming salvias too, although they usually come back and bloom again in the fall…’Bernice’ does not.

I not only have a fondness for this plant when in bloom – blue, double flowers and erect stems – but I like its name as well. It reminds me of a story I read as a girl, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Bernice” is a name that hasn’t been in vogue lately, but is probably due for a comeback, like what happened with “Hannah”.

But I digress… a great Campanula and very reliable, hardy in zones 4 to 8, and some sources claim even in zone 3. A good cut flower as well. I do love this plant, Campanula ‘Bernice’!

This plant does not need staking.

This plant does not need staking.

11 Responses to “I Love This Plant – Campanula ‘Bernice’”

  1. 1
    Genevieve:

    I’ve never met a Campanula I didn’t like. I’m going to have to try this one; the color is the same tone as the accent in my office where I do my landscape designing. I’d love the cut flowers!

  2. 2
    irene:

    hi c.l.,
    ‘bernice’ looks for all the world like Adenophora lilifolia, lady bells. it appears that the flowers have just a slightly different shape, but that the general form, the bloom time, and the leaves are remarkably similar. both are beautiful, and add a sweet coolness to the landscape in the time of such long days!

  3. 3
    CL Fornari:

    Irene,
    What the photo of my garden doesn’t show is that these flowers, unlike lady bells, are double and larger than Adenophera. Also, this plant stays in a clump and doesn’t self-seed, where as Adenophera can spread.

    I can’t say that there isn’t a Campanula I don’t like, Genevieve, because there are some that are thugs! Campanula rapunculoides, for example, can take over a garden. See Kathy Purdy’s post about this plant at: http://www.coldclimategardening.com/2007/07/26/campanula-rapunculoides-the-evil-twin/

  4. 4
    Ken Whiting:

    Hi C.L.
    Bernice was my mothers first name. She passed away in May of 2006. I just sent you website page showing this plant to my four sisters who all like gardening. I would like to buy this plant. Where do you recommend I buy one? I live in Harwich with my wife. Thanks for responding. We listen to your show weekly.
    Happy Hoildays Ken

  5. 5
    CL Fornari:

    Ken,
    I’m pleased that you are interested in this plant – what a wonderful way to honor your mother!
    You can ask at local garden centers – I know that Hyannis Country Garden will try and order it if they don’t have it (that’s where I got my original plants) or you can order it online. On line you can find it at Digging Dog: http://www.diggingdog.com/pages2/plantpages.php/P-0733 or
    Bluestone Perennials: http://www.bluestoneperennials.com/b/bp/CABEP.html

    I have ordered from both of these nurseries and recommend them.

    all the best, C.L.

  6. 6
    IRIS:

    I just bought a Purple Campanul Plant that I will keep in a sunny part of my house. In the summer I plan to put it outside in a sunny area. I want to keep it in the pot it came in so that I can bring it indoors again when the weather gets cold.
    Is this something that I can do and keep the plant alive?

  7. 7
    CL Fornari:

    Whether you overwinter it indoors or not depends on what type of campanula you have, ad how cold it gets where you live. Email details to me at clfornari@yahoo.com and I’ll advise!

  8. 8
    Carolyn Sanderson:

    Campanula trachelium ‘Bernice’
    WHERE DO I FIND THIS PLANT?>
    I had it a long time ago and it’s “disappeared” — all the campanula I find now are either too short (these were 18″ tall) or NOT blue. I want blue tall campanula and I thnk the above may be what I”m looking for.

  9. 9
    CL Fornari:

    Carolyn,
    ‘Bernice’ is over 18″ tall – two feet and more. Perhaps you have the peach-leaf Campanula, C. persicifolia. You can find that one at Bluestone Perennials: http://www.bluestoneperennials.com/b/bp/CAPCS.html and you can order ‘Bernice’ from Digging Dog nursery. http://www.diggingdog.com/pages2/plantpages.php/P-0733

    I’ve ordered from both of these sources before and they are good suppliers of plants.

  10. 10
    Kathy:

    Love this campanula. How much shade can it take and still bloom like your photo shows? I have a tough spot, about 2 hours a day in the afternoon. Do you think it will work? Thanks, Kathy

  11. 11
    CL Fornari:

    Kathy,
    This plant needs at least four hours of sun including the noon hour to do well… not sure it’s the plant for your spot. How about a yellow Hakonachloa grass for that tough location?