Geraniums: Easy and Reliable

 

Geranium-Rozanne-3655
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ flowers over a very long period.

Hardy geraniums were one of the first flowers I grew. They really encouraged me in my early years of gardening because they are so easy to grow and have both pretty flowers and good-looking leaves.

Finding that they were easy to divide and propagate gave me a confidence boost as I learned about the basics of gardening, and I’ve loved having them in the garden ever since. They’re tough little survivors, and great to fill in spots that other plants would struggle in.

Geranium-Mrs-KC-1505
‘Mrs Kendall Clark’ is a lovely blue geranium.

There are several blue or purple-blue geraniums in the garden. Some were here already when we bought the house. One is magnificum, which has striking dark veins on the petals (below, right). There are a couple of others that I don’t know the names of – one of the mysteries of inheriting plants!

I’ve added two of my favourite blue geraniums – Rozanne (top photo) and Mrs Kendall Clark (above). Rozanne’s flowers can be quite strongly blue, especially when the flower is newly opened but then can age to a more lilac shade. Mrs Kendall Clark is a paler blue and stands tall and elegant in the border. (And has attractive, finely-divided leaves – a definite bonus.)

Geraniums-2-up
Left – This white geranium appeared unexpectedly in the garden this year. Right – Geranium magnificum spreads easily.

There was a nice surprise this summer when the white geranium above simply arrived from nowhere. I can’t remember planting it – not in recent years anyway! (Though it may have been labelled as something else. It’s welcome anyway!)

I enjoy photographing the geraniums, especially those that have strongly marked veins on the petals. That’s a detail that adds a lot of interest to a flower portrait.

The geranium below appealed to me for a different reason – the wonderfully hairy stems! (Apparently they are sticky, but I didn’t touch them to find out for sure!) It was growing in a garden I visited and I hadn’t seen one before, so I was rather intrigued by it. However, I’m not likely to try growing it because it can’t withstand frost. Maybe I’ll get to see it in its native Madeira some day!

Geranium-pink-1244
Geranium madarense has unusually hairy, sticky stems.

29 thoughts on “Geraniums: Easy and Reliable

  1. Beautiful overview of some lovely geraniums Ann. You might want to give the madarense a try anyway. We inherited it when we had a property in The Catlins where we got heavy frosts at times and snow. There were multiple plants on the edge of the driveway and around the parking area. They were big and thrived, as far as I remember they self-seeded too and did really well. In winter they just seemed to hunker down and take whatever came their way – they always bounced back and flowered magnificently.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, that’s interesting…maybe I should! 🙂 I’ve read that they get quite big, so I’d need to find a bit of space somewhere with a bit of shelter maybe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They are big in a magnificent way! Some of ours were right in the path of the prevailing westerlies and they seemed to be fine. (They did also get plenty of sun there, and being right by the gravel driveway probably helped a bit with warmth). Others were sheltered from the wind but didn’t get much sun during winter. None of them seemed to be fussy!

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    1. Thank you Petra! The markings on the petals can be very attractive and sometimes you can see a bit of red along the edges of the leaves. Flowers repay getting up close! 🙂

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  2. Hi again! I’ve found photos of some of the geraniums that we had although there were no photos of what I remember to be the biggest ones. After reading more, I’m confused about which species they might be – perhaps they’re canariensis which are a bit hardier than the maderense. I’m just about to publish a post with the photos. Whatever they were, both of us liked them a lot!

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    1. Aha! Interesting – I have canariensis too – it was given to me by a friend and its babies have survived to carry on, so it’s a lot hardier than madarense. I read that the two are very easy to confuse…hehe! (Sometimes I think plants like to confuse us humans! 🙂 )

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      1. Don’t be confused, Liz! hehe! Your photos in your post are great and all but the bottom one show canariensis (now called reuteri.) I have this too and it does cope with a fair bit of cold and wet. It’s short-lived here but self seeds everywhere, so its babies carry on. The madarense in your bottom photo does look different…maybe you had both!. (LOL, just looked up and spotted a squirrel on the fence – first one I’ve seen here in years!!) 🙂

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  3. I have several geranium plants as their leaves ecoprint beautifully. They include a very large specimen which I assumed was maderense but it doesn’t have hairy stems so maybe it’s reuteri. The leaves are enormous – bigger than my hand! It seems to be biennial and it self seeds everywhere.

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    1. The first ones that we inherited were ‘Wargrave Pink’ – we inherited them here too. They seem pretty much unkillable! (Which was a big advantage when we were beginner gardeners!) 🙂

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