HARDY PERENNIALS: GERANIUM

Practically all true Geraniums are fully hardy; since the so called Geraniums for indoors or summer bedding are Pelargoniurris. There are more garden worthy kinds of Geraniums than most gardens could find room for and as a genus it is both varied and very .adaptable, both to soil and situation. In general, they are best increased by division and this can be done in either autumn or spring. Those that prefer sun are the dwarfest and G. ‘Russell Prichard’ makes a mounded carpet of soft grey green set with intense magenta pink-cups from June to September. With a similar surface spread of growth G. wallichianum ‘Buxtons Blue’ has pretty lavender blue, pale centred flowersfor much of the latter half of summer. G. candidum a charming white species is also fairly prostrate or cushioning but both G. grandiflorurn and G. macrorrhizum have a leafy spread, extending its roots in keeping. The former has blue flowers, and the latter no great show of pinkish saucers but the foliage has a ‘sweet briars’ perfume when crushed. G. sanguineum has dense growth above ground from clumpy plants and magenta flowers and there is an excellent pink variety in G. sanguineum lancastriense splen-dens. These rise to about 12-15 inches and make a bright show from June onwards. The varieties of G. endressii are very vigorous, mounding up to 18 inches and have pink salvers. A hybrid named G. Johnsons Blue makes a fine splash in June-July, about 15 inches high and G. wlas-sovianum, with a lavender blue flower, carries on flowering on cushioned growth, till late August. G. renardii is notable for its greyish puckered leaves densly canopied 12 inches high all summer, following a brief show of prettily veined pale lilac cups. G. sylvaticum flowers in May and June, the best blue being G. ‘Mayflower’ with an attractive white. G. album. G. ibericum (platypetalum) grows bushily to 2 feet, with deep blue heads of cap shaped flowers in June-July, and G. ‘Claridge Druce’ has a vigorous spread of lilac pink flowers and is useful for covering odd corners even if shady. G. phaeum—the ‘Mourning Widow’ has small but darkly purple, almost black flowers in early summer, will also grow in shade. G. pratense, the ‘Meadow Cranesbill’ has a good blue form in G. ‘Mrs. Kendall Clarke’, and these are double flowered forms, both blue and white. G. armenum (psilos-temon) is fiercely brilliant and will grow to nearly 3 feet where moist, making a display from June to late August, with a slightly less violent colour in the otherwise similar G. ‘Bressingham Flair’. This is a wide selection, though still not complete, it should be sufficient to stimulate greater interest in these valuable hardy perennials, many of which have been undeservedly neglected in the past.

GERANIUM 'Mayflower'

GERANIUM ‘Mayflower’

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