Northern Shade Gardening

Blue Bellflower and Pink Carnation

Monday, August 2, 2010 Category: Perennials

Pink and blue flowers make a pretty garden combination. These Campanula ‘Summertime Blues’ (bellflower) and Dianthus caryophylus ‘Grenadin’ (carnation) bloom in midsummer in my zone 3 garden. The carnations add a little fragrance to go with the lovely summer colours of these perennials.

Dianthus caryopyllus 'Grenadin' pink carnations

Dianthus caryopyllus 'Grenadin' pink carnations

Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Grenadin’ are a hardy perennial carnation that come in a variety of colours. These carnations are a medium pink, but the photo above taken in the late evening gives some of them a red appearance. I’ve had these Dianthus for a while, and they are now a mixture of double and singles. These are usually short lived, but new plants can be made from the loosely connected sections that spread out, or from cuttings. Their scent is wonderful, and they always entice me to bend over and enjoy the fragrance up close. The leaves of Dianthus will be visible as soon as the snow melts, so this is another perennial that helps green up the garden quickly in spring. You can read more about this fragrant Dianthus here.

Dianthus caryopyllus 'Grenadin' pink carnations with bellflowers 2

Dianthus caryopyllus 'Grenadin' pink carnations with bellflowers 2

The carnations are actually sun loving, but manage to do okay in this part shade area, with some morning light and then dappled shade. Theses cottage flowers lean a little in this amount of light, but still get a good number of flowers. If I had a bright sunny area, I’d plant the Dianthus there, but I’m pleased with the way the colour of this pink carnation coordinates with the blue bellflower in this area of the garden.

Campanula 'Summertime Blues' bellflower and Dianthus caryophyllus 'Grenadin' pink

Campanula 'Summertime Blues' bellflower and Dianthus caryophyllus 'Grenadin' pink

Campanula ‘Summertime Blues’ has silvery blue flowers with large bells that hang down, flaring out at the bottom. Each plant gets multiple stems about 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 inches) tall, with somewhat sparse leaves,  so the amount of flowers is almost equal to the mass of foliage. In the photo below, you can see the plum coloured buds that will be opening soon to a steely blue. Here are more photos and information about Campanula ‘Summertime Blues’ from last year.

Campanula 'Summertime Blues' and Dianthus caryopyllus 'Grenadin'

Campanula 'Summertime Blues' and Dianthus caryopyllus 'Grenadin'

These two perennials are about the same height, and the flower stems mingle together. In my zone 3 garden, the carnations bloom for about 4 weeks from July to August, and the ‘Summertime Blues’ bellflowers have a strong initial flower bloom, and then flower in waves intermittently until fall. There are some annual blue lobelia bordering this bed, that you can see in the upper left of the photo above. Beside these Campanula are some Phlox paniculata (tall phlox) in white and mauve that will be flowering soon, as they are full of buds. Just across the path bordering this section of the garden are some Campanula lactiflora (milky bellflower) with lavender blue flowers.

I have lots of blue bellflowers, and particularly like this combination with pink carnations. I also pair the other blue flowers with white, lavender or pink coloured flowers. Do you have any favourite colours to pair with blue flowers?

28 Responses to “Blue Bellflower and Pink Carnation” »

  1. Crafty Gardener :
    August 2, 2010 at 8:01 am

    The bellflowers are very pretty. I have several blue flowers in the spring and they seem to fit in nicely with all the other colours.

  2. Northern Shade :
    August 2, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Crafty Gardener, I find blue flowers easy to mix in with other flowers, too. The small blue bulbs, like Scilla, Puschkinia, Chionodoxa and Muscari, give a lot of blue in my spring garden, and the perennial Brunnera and Pulmonaria.

  3. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    August 2, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Hi Northern, they are indeed a beautiful combination! I generally pair blue with white or sometimes yellow. It seems like your garden is a week or 2 ahead of mine now, phlox hasn’t set buds yet, and the dianthus buds are tiny. I like your Summertime Blues, the shape of the big bells is quite different from the smaller Campanulas, but charming none the less. :)

  4. Northern Shade :
    August 2, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Rebecca, the Dianthus flowers have been blooming for a week and a half now. ‘Summertime Blues’ have the large cathedral-sized bells of the Campanula. They look like they are ringing back and forth in the last photo.

  5. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm :
    August 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Very pretty! I like campanulas and have a lot of various one, but I don’t think I have that one. Pink and blue do look great together!

  6. Northern Shade :
    August 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Sheryl, Campanula have to be one of my top 2 favourite genus. I love all of the various bell shapes and blue colours that they come in. ‘Summertime Blues’ has a long bloom period, and it is a taller bellflower, so it can go at the front or middle of a border.

  7. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    August 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Unrelated question for you Northern, I will be planting a Little Lamb Hydrangea over the next few days. Joy in Ontario (GardenJoy) has not had luck with the variety. Just wondering how yours is doing?

  8. Northern Shade :
    August 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Rebecca, I have two of them, and they do fine. One in the far corner of my garden had a small amount of dieback last winter, and the one near my house had none. They both have lots of buds on them right now. They get good sized flowers on fairly sturdy stems.

  9. The Garden Ms. S :
    August 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    This is a very pretty combination. I like the paler blues, and one of my favourite combos is pale blue with a soft lime green. I don’t have that combination in my garden right now, but hope to soon.

  10. Northern Shade :
    August 3, 2010 at 8:49 am

    The Garden Ms. S, if you like the paler blues, you would like Campanula cochlearifolia ‘Elizabeth Oliver’, which have small, double, pale blue flowers. They are dwarf plants, and make a fantastic edging with a multitude of tiny perfect flowers.

  11. Swimray :
    August 4, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I have green nicotiana with magenta phlox. This combo was created by accident- I could never plan such a thing. I am embarrassed to take photos because the plants look pretty grungy after our heat.

  12. Northern Shade :
    August 4, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Swimray, sometimes I plan, and sometimes pretty combinations just happen , like your phlox and nicotiana.

    It sounds like the heat is hard on your plants this summer. We’ve been fortunate to have fairly moderate temperatures and some bonus rain.

  13. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    August 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Hi Northern, thanks for the information. Just wondering about size, the tag says 4-6 feet, but I wonder if it would be closer to 4 in our climate? Just trying to pick the perfect planting spot. Thanks :)

  14. Northern Shade :
    August 5, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Rebecca, I emailed about the size.

  15. Kathleen :
    August 5, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Pink and blue ~ a favorite combination. I love yellow with blue/purple too. Anything yellow. Right now my violet tubeflowers are next to a (name forgotten) sunflower and they look very nice together. I also have some Salvia verticillata (purple rain) reblooming near rudbeckia and that’s a pretty combo. They are all doing well in full sun tho which I know won’t work for you. Campanula ‘summertime blues’ is very attractive.

  16. Northern Shade :
    August 5, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Kathleen, yellow and purple blue are a pretty combination. I have a patch of early crocus in those colours, and it is very vibrant and cheery.

  17. Barbara :
    August 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I think blue flowers are very good to pair with other colours, preferably pink and white ones. In my garden I very often use the blue/white combination. And the rare yellow plants sometimes get a blue neighbour flower (geraniums) too. I love all kind of campanulas but they do not easily grow here…we have too many slugs. That’s a pity!

  18. Northern Shade :
    August 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Barbara, most of my blue flowers get paired with either pink or white, too. These bellflowers are nice for the height, since I have so many other dwarf types.

  19. easygardener :
    August 10, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Pink and blue do work well together – I have a Penstemon that has both colours in each flower. I wish I could grow Pinks and Carnations but my soil does not suit them. I really miss the fragrance.

  20. Northern Shade :
    August 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Easygardener, I appreciate the carnation fragrance right now, since my other favourite scented flowers are over. The carnation flowers seem to be lasting longer this summer.

  21. waltraud :
    August 12, 2010 at 7:59 am

    thy glorious bell flowers and carnations, beautiful images.
    Wish you a nice weekend.

    LG Waltraud

  22. Northern Shade :
    August 12, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Waltraud, I really like all of the dwarf bellflowers, but these taller ones work well when paired with other medium sized perennials, like the carnations, and you can put shorter ones in front of them.

  23. Gail :
    August 23, 2010 at 6:42 am

    What a sweet combination~I saw alpine bellflowers in the Rockies this past week and wanted the coolness of them in my garden! You seem to have several all summer…Lucky you! gail

  24. Northern Shade :
    August 23, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Gail, some of the bellflower blooms can last a long time. Summmertime Blues has a long season and many of the dwarf ones do too. I enjoy seeing the Campanula rotundifolia in the wild around here. The ones in nature have finished blooming now, but the ones in my garden have a longer flowering time, perhaps because I usually deadhead them.

  25. Shady Gardener :
    September 1, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I’m not that old, I don’t think… but wasn’t there a song “Blue Shoes and a Pink Carnation?” ha! Very sweet combination NS! :-)

  26. Northern Shade :
    September 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Shady Gardener, there are still a few of the carnations in bloom. I’ve been very surprised, since the carnations have never flowered for so long before, and here it is September.

  27. Jennifer :
    September 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I don’t have a ton of blue in my garden and would love to add more. Mostly I have my blue flowers mixing with white. When it comes to pink, I love the odd mix of bright orange and cool pink. I also love to mix purple and pink flowers.

  28. Northern Shade :
    September 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Jennifer, Campanula are great, if you want to add more blue to your garden. There are many so different bellflower species, with such pretty blue flowers. I have more purple and pink in my late spring garden.

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