New and Everywhere-Creeping Bellflower

(Question)

I’ve been in my home for over 10 years and never seen this plant before. This year it is everywhere in my front garden. It seems to be doing well in both sun and shade though the garden is mostly shade. It has managed to grow amongst and over the ivy. It currently stands about 40cm tall. The leaves do not have any type of scent.

 

 

(Answer)

This year’s long, cool and rainy spring has brought forth some unexpectedly robust plants – weeds amongst them – and so it is in some ways no surprise that we are seeing plants in our gardens that we don’t recognize.  Although it is not possible to say with complete certainty from your photograph, this plant looks like the very invasive creeping bellflower, Campanula rapunculoides, which is a common and generally unwelcome plant in Toronto gardens.

In its first year, it is a much smaller plant, growing only to about 6 inches; in its second year it produces tall stalks as in your photograph.  It will eventually send up a narrow-leaved spike of purple bell-shaped flowers typical of the Campanula family.

Here is a link to a previous Toronto Master Gardeners post on this plant, with good photos and some resources that should help you to identify it definitively.  Some gardeners allow it to co-exist, while others find that it is terribly invasive: http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/creeping-european-bellflower/