Love the Flower, Hate the Form


With a common-name like LadyBells one might think that I would adore this plant unconditionally. As it is, I have a few major conditions, and because of them I find it hard to love this Adenophora through and through. The flower is exquisite, with an elusive shade that almost borders on the blue. Not many flowers come that close, so those that do are highly prized. (Some contend there are no true blue flowers; I’m not that quick to be so definite, but I do know it’s a rare hue.)

My problem, therefore, is not with the flower, but with the form of the plant. Its style is too loner-like for my taste. I like my plants in mounds or mats, with groups of stems that combine to create an overall impression. The single and solitary nature of Adenophora goes against that. From a design standpoint, I know the power and importance of vertical aspects like this – my issue is a personal preference I cannot get over. The one small patch I have going in the side garden – brought in by accident with another perennial – has actually expanded into a mat of sorts, but the results, as seen here, still bother me. Again, some people adore the effect, and I do admit that when grounded by ferns or hosta it works – I just can’t bring myself to love it. Sorry, lady.


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