Hardy geraniums that is. Not pelargoniums, even though I still see them labelled as such in supermarkets and garden centres (and nurseries who should know better). I have bought some of the bedding ones to fill a pot or two, but hardy geraniums are the ones you plant into the ground and they (should) come back every year. ‘Cos they are hardy, see?
Cranesbill, or hardy geraniums, are perennial border plants with saucer-shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple and blue. They’re easy to grow, thrive in shade and flower for months.
Having paid a visit to Margery Fish’s beautiful cottage garden in East Lambrook a couple of weeks ago I came home with four more geraniums. G. Phaeum “Lily Lovell”, a pretty deep violet-blue, G.Phaeum “Samabor”, a very dark purple, G. Pratense “Mrs Kendall Clarke”, a soft grey-blue and G. sylvaticum “Album”, white of course. None of which feature this week I’m afraid as I got all the top growth removed so they’d transport better. So we’ll stick with those that are in fact in bloom right now:
(1) Geranium × oxonianum in various shades of pink fill my Woodland Border at this time of year and continue through to October. The flowers are lovely, the leaves not so much, too many of them. And beware, these geraniums are very promiscuous, they spread their seed everywhere! One of these could be “Wargrave Pink”
(2) Geranium “Anne Thompson” is a compact variety of Anne Folkard. The same bright magenta-pink black-eyed flowers and lovely fresh bright green young leaves. Anne is a spreader and currently lives in the Dappled Shade border where she certainly catches your eye.
(3) Geranium x magnificum has hairy green leaves that have a nice autumn colour. Masses and masses of large bluish purple flowers form when it starts to bloom, but sadly these don’t last for long, flowering in May and June.
(4) Geranium himalayense ‘Derrick Cook’ is a compact form of Geranium himalayense. It has very large white, saucer shaped flowers that are delicately veined with purple eyelashes. Derrick has been moved around the garden, but seems to like his most recent resting place which is in dappled sun under the Hazel tree.
(5) Geranium ‘renardii’ is a very attractive plant forming a soft mound of sage green scalloped-edged leaves and the almost white flowers have a network of delicate purple veins in early summer. I have complained a lot about its lack of flowering on the blog, but this year it seems to be making more of an effort. It is still worth growing for the lovely foliage alone. Unlike the spreaders this one forms a lovely neat cushion.
(6) Last year’s newcomer is G. “Rozanne” to which hardly any gardener needs introducing to, flowers for months because it is sterile. Rozanne brightens up any corner in which she lurks with her huge, glowing violet blue, saucer-shaped flowers with distinctive white eyes and reddish-purple veining. She’s a bit of a spreader too so may require dividing either in spring or autumn. Named after nurserywoman Rozanne Waterer.
Geraniums are very popular in cottage gardens and are great for pollinators providing nectar for a long time and they are easy to grow in most conditions, though some prefer a sunny spot. You really have to get close to the flowers to understand the beauty of these flowers with their different coloured ‘eyes’ and stamens (eyelashes) and veining.
I think I have around 15 different hardy geraniums. How many do you have? And is there any particular variety that stands out for you?
As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world.
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