Gerantum macrorrhizum

One of the best of all carpeting plants, this geranium spreads rapidly, but is never invasive. If it exceeds its allotted space, you just pull it up by hand.

A nearly evergreen perennial, its beauty is in the spreading masses of frilly, five-lobed leaves, which are soft green for most of the year, but scarlet in autumn, and when they die away at last, the young leaves are ready and waiting. The leaves are highly aromatic, and it is a joy to crush one and release the scent on a summer’s day. The flowers, some 12 inches (30 cm) high, are magenta, but in the attractive form ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’, they are rose-pink.

Geranium macrorrhizum grows equally well in sun or light shade and prefers dry soil, which makes it an excellent ground-cover among greedy shrubs. A very few plants, put in 18 inches (45 cm) apart, will be enough to start with if you want to grow a carpet, for they will quickly join up, and you can pull off pieces, whether rooted or not, on a wet spring day, add them to your group, and they will root. If you have struggled, as I have, with aggressive carpeters, like the lamiums, and wish you had never set eyes on them, you will appreciate this lovely geranium’s good behaviour.

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