From time to time in the history of modern alpine gardening, an artificial hybrid of outstanding beauty is created either by chance or by careful hand-pollination. Many of the finest plants are created by chance and it was by this method that one of the finest of all hybrid campanulas was raised. Of greatest concern are the number of wonderful hybrid plants that have fallen by the wayside, however the plant under the spotlight was raised in the 1970s at the famous Broadwell Nursery in the Cotswolds, England and still thrives in alpine plant collections today. The hybrid arose when a passing bee transferred a dollop of pollen from Campanula raineri and deposited on the ripe stigma of C. morettiana, a distinct seedling was spotted, with its shallower flowers and typical C. raineri leaves. Once isolated it grew vigorously (a sure sign of hybrid vigour) and in its second year flowered continuously from June until September. What a discovery and what sharp eyes were the possession of the late Joe Elliott and his nursery manager Ralph Haywood. So Campanula ‘Joe Elliott’ was created, commemorating its raiser. The hybrid has the same running habit as C. raineri and can therefore be propagated, both by division and cuttings of non-flowering stems.
Plants can be grown in a trough or raised bed and are best given cloche cover during the winter wet. Both parents enjoy an alkaline substrate in nature and the hybrid will respond to a material with added tufa or dolomite granules. I must emphasise the need to be vigilant against the visit of slugs at all times, they love expensive campanulas!
This outstanding cultivar has been awarded as a plant for exhibit, an A.M. in 1978 followed by the coveted F.C.C in 1981; a real accolade.
Availability: Aberconwy Nursery: Tel, 01492 580875