Campanula cochlearifolia ‘Elizabeth Oliver’ (double fairy thimble bellflower) have gorgeous light blue, double flowers on very compact plants. They are covered in a multitude of dainty blooms for many weeks in summer. Although I love all of the Campanula genus, this one has especially charming double blooms.
Although tiny, there are over 50 blooms on each small ‘Elizabeth Oliver’ plant in midsummer. Each one is a perfect double flower, like a mini rose. The double bells face upwards and outwards, so it is easy to see their delightful shape. The beautiful blue coloured petals show up well, with the petal tips curving slightly outwards.
Campanula cochlearifolia are very short, around 10 cm (4 inches) tall. The elfin plants make a great edging for a garden border. This groundcover spreads out to form a beautiful carpet, but does not bother other plants. This makes them perfect for underplanting taller perennials or shrubs, too.
In zone 3, these fairy thimble bellflowers bloom from mid July through September, putting on a long flower show. Although the flowers look very delicate, they are actually very hardy plants, and have no problem surviving winters down to – 40º C (-40º F).
‘Elizabeth Oliver’ bellflowers get a good number of flowers in part shade. Mine are planted just a few feet south of a pine tree. They also have a fence a few metres to the south and to the east. A few maple branches stretch this far, and the shadow of the willow tree reaches here in the late afternoon and evening. It sounds shadier than it is, as they get bits of sun at different times of the day, as well as dappled light. They thrive in this light, and flower well.
I have my ‘Elizabeth Oliver’ planted with some other bellflowers. The photo above shows the Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) in a darker blue behind. There are also some white C. carpatica behind on the other side. Another double bellflower, Campanula ‘Haylodgensis’, is planted next to them, as well. The ‘Haylodgensis’ flowers are about double the size and especially attractive, too. There are some Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ (grape hyacinths) spring bulbs planted in between the perennials, to start the blue flower show in spring and extend the flowering time.
The photo above shows how thick and pretty the flowers on ‘Elizabeth Oliver’ can be at their peak.
The first pictures are all from earlier in the season, but the bellflowers are still blooming towards the end of September, just not with as many blooms. The photo above shows the Campanula after the first frost this week. Even after the freeze, there are still pretty blue bells on ‘Elizabeth Oliver’. Their long season of flowering makes them great for edging up front. Any plants that can still show some flowers after the first frosts are appreciated in a short growing season.
There are many Campanula on my favourite bellflower list, and all of them make great garden plants, but Campanula cochlearifolia ‘Elizabeth Oliver’ have a little extra charm, a cute petal form and a great colour.