New York: one woman, one garden, twelve seasons.
The purple flowers and the leaves look like Kolkwitzia, but I've only ever seen it in pink!
Hey Devon - I should shown the leaves better - it's a perennial, but it does look kolwitzia-ish, doesn't it?
I think the plant you are dubbing a campanula is actually a penstemon - maybe smallii? It's native to the eastern US and deals better with our moisture levels and soils than do the western more xeric penstemons. I have P. smallii in bloom right now in Yonkers, and the flowers look like that. It's an improved cultivar (can't recall the name) that Bluestone Perennials was selling last autumn. It seems to bloom shortly before the purple leaved P. digitalis cultivars like 'Dark Towers' and 'Mystica'. I always failed with the western penstemons (with their red and blue colors) in Brooklyn, but these eastern ones, though with more muted colors, are doing very nicely. Bumble bees and other small darting pollinators also seem to find these eastern penstemons very, very compelling.
Gosh, Klaus, you are correct! Thank you. How lovely. How inspiring. I tend not to think about them, though I saw a lovely clump at the BBG last night (not this one).