Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’

This is, of course, a hardy geranium, not one of the half-hardy bedding pelargo-niums, and is a long-flowering hybrid of the wild meadow cranesbill which is still plentiful in fields and by the wayside. It is a faultless border plant, forming cushions of deeply lobed leaves with an infinite number of flat mauve-blue flowers springing up from the clumps for at least two months from mid-summer. Few plants are so prolific and engaging while giving so little trouble. The flower stems are about 16 inches (40 cm) tall.

Plant 16 inches (40 cm) apart in ordinary garden soil, and divide the clumps every few years. This geranium can be grown as a front-of-border plant, associating with almost any summer plant you can think of – alchemilla, grasses, other varieties of geranium, perhaps lilies. Or use it in groups as ground-cover for a rosebed. There is a white form of the meadow cranesbill which is just as attrac-tive as the blue.

I am also fond of another blue gera-nium which is a parent of’Johnson’s Blue’, G. himalayense, usually listed as G. grandi-florum, a larger plant than its offspring,

Hypericum Tlicleote’ unusual. It is hardy, is a good town plant, and is said to be ‘semi-evergreen’, a flattering description, for there are few leaves left in a hard winter.

In very cold gardens, H. ‘Hidcote’ is a better choice, being more reliably hardy. It is a taller shrub, and the golden flowers are larger and finer, but there are no berries.

Both shrubs like full sun, are easy as to soil, and should be clipped over in spring.

With deeper blue flowers. But its flowering period is short and it needs a bit of propping, so if you have to choose, ‘Johnson’s Blue’ has more to give.

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