callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,


Last Friday's edition of Gardeners' World on BBC2 promised a feature on wild and cultivated forms of cranesbills, or hardy geraniums. Unfortunately I switched on just as the item was ending but saw enough to realise that there are still people madly collecting geraniums. I used to do this and at one time had about a hundred varieties but I gave it up. There are still a lot of geraniums in the garden and, shame on me, I've forgotten the names of some of them. Now that I'm planning on moving I'm thinking of which I would never plant again and which I don't want to lose, so read on if you care.

The plant above is Geranium 'Brookside' and is a definite keeper; in fact I've already potted some up. It is a true blue, neatly clump forming and will flower a second time if cut down. Next some weedy types I wouldn't bother with again. Geranium x oxonianum and Geranium endressii varieties are useful because they'll grow anywhere and are indestructible. They are also very promiscuous, seed and cross all over the place and are very hard to dig out once established.

This is typical of the large plants you will get once you have G. x oxonianum in the garden. Below is a neater variety, called 'Phoebe Noble'.

Still with the oxonianum types, this is 'Sherwood', a prettier form of the variety 'Thurstonianum'. These are quaint, with a quilled effect to the petals. Another of my 'weeds' is Geranium asphodeloides seen below in two different fomrs. Again, promiscuous and a keen self-seeder but rather dainty.

Now for some better ones. G. psilostemon has long been a favourite of mine. I've been moaning for a year about losing my nice old Victorian wall and having a fence instead but these plants used to need staking and now that they are in less shade they stand up very perkily. So I'd always put these in an open spot, or they'll flop. I have cunningly planted Euphorbia sikkimensis right next to them as the brilliant pink in the euphorbia foliage picks out the flower colour.

G. kashmirianum is another accommodating species plant. It is low growing and has large flowers for its height. Very pretty at this time of the year.

G. 'Joy', named for Joy Jones, is very pretty for the front of the border. Large, pale pink flowers and a silvery sheen to the leaves.

Another very good variety, 'Syabru'. Large flowers on small clumps. I bought this plant from Piet Oudolf's wonderful nursery at Hummelo and like everything else I had from him, it's done really well for me.

I haven't covered even half the geraniums flowering in the June garden so I need to take the camera round again.
Tags: cranesbills, gardening, geraniums

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