Hardy Geraniums- you can just never have too many ….

28 May

Hardy geraniums have to be one of the hardest working plants in any garden. There are over 422 species, commonly known as Cranesbills. This name comes from the beak-like seed capsule. And they are definitely not to be confused with the red Mediterranean geraniums which are actually pelargoniums.

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In my garden alone, I have 8 different varieties. The majority of geraniums are hardy herbaceous perennials, dying back over winter and then re-emerging in spring, with flowers ranging from April through to September.

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Above : Geranium sanguineum

None of them are truly evergreen but Geranium macrorrhizum does a good impression and the foliage has lovely autumnal tinges as well. It’s a bit of a thug but is easily controlled by simply pulling off the leggy extensions.it is also very happy in dry shade once established so a very useful plant.

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Above : Geranium macrorrhizum

Another invaluable variety is Geranium phaeum – or mourning widow – beautiful dainty dark purple blooms are held high above leaves mottled with purple. Again it can be a bit invasive but easily controlled and it is pretty happy in dry shade too. Also comes in white.

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Above : Geranium phaeum

Another reliable flowerer is Geranium ‘Kashmir pink’ and ‘Kashmir White’. Gently mound forming and flowering for a month in May . As with many perennials that only flower the once, if you cut them back hard after flowering, water and feed well, and you will get a fresh mound of foliage and sometimes more flowers.

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Above:Geranium ‘Kashmir Pink’

Two of my favourites, that are only just coming into flower are Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ and Geranium ‘Patricia’. ‘Ann Folkard’ has bright green foliage topped with contrasting magenta flowers, it has an endearing habit of scrambling its way through all our other plants and can spread a couple of metres, popping up its bright flowers all over. ‘Patricia’ has similar flowers but over a mound of cut foliage. Both flower all summer, and pair well with blowsy oriental poppies, salvias, foxgloves and English roses. geranium psilostemon ( no I can’t pronounce it either !) is another good one, but it does get big and can take over a border while you’re not looking.

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Above: Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ and ‘Patricia’

Breeders have also come up with dark leaved varieties which can be a nice contrast to all the other green leaved perennials.

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Above : Geranium pratense ‘Victor Reider’

One I don’t have is Geranium viscosissimum, which according to Wikipedia ( therefore definitely true!) is practically carnivorous !! Must look out for that one !
There are simply too many geranium to talk about them all, but if you haven’t got at least five in your garden, you need to try harder !

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One Response to “Hardy Geraniums- you can just never have too many ….”

  1. igardendaily June 14, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    I love hardy geraniums too!

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