The plant that tops the poll as the new entry in the latest RHS Plant Finder that is listed by the most different nurseries is always a plant worth growing and this year that plant is Campanula Iridescent Bells (‘Iribella’) (below).
This hardy perennial bellflower reaches about 60cm (2ft) in height. Its jagged pendulous bells are shining purple in bud and open to white misted with hazy blue-purple. There are already a number of plants in this general style but what sets this one apart is its exceptionally long flowering season.
Simon Crawford, of Burpee NL in Holland told me more about the plant. “What really attracted us to Iridescent Bells originally,” he said, “was the deep violet blue flower buds which open to be a really elegant ice blue. However, the performance in the home garden was viewed as being of paramount importance and therefore a long flowering season and tolerance to rain and general disease were key selection criteria. Iridescent Bells starts flowering in late May and doesn’t stop until November.
“It was developed by my colleague Henk van der Velde in Holland and was a result of making crosses between selections of Campanula latifolia, C. takesimana and C. punctata. Crosses were made with a broad colour range (pink, rose and a range of blues as well as white) in mind and a reasonably compact plant habit.
“The selections were made in the field in Holland in 2009 after overwintering in a heavy clay soil during the winter of 2008-2009, helping us to assess hardiness, and this has been supported by further winter tests in Philadelphia and Chicago in the USA.”
Not the only belle of the border
Campanula Iridescent Bells was first introduced by Unwins in 2012 but it is only now that it’s available more widely. This year Unwins are introducing a pink-flowered plant, ‘Pearlescent Bells’ (right), and also a pure white flowered form, ‘White Glow’ – both are forms of C. takesimana.
You can order Campanula Iridescent Bells (‘Iribella’) from Unwins and Hayloft Plants.
You can order Campanula ‘Pearlescent Bells’ from Unwins.
You can order Campanula ‘White Glow’ as part of a collection that includes Iridescent Bells and ‘Pearlescent Bells’ from Hayloft Plants.
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **