Gary Carroll came to the February meeting of Ticknall Garden Club to talk about geraniums. But it did not involve the bright and showy bedding plants with which we are so familiar. Gary grows 142 varieties of the humble hardy geranium at his Cranesbill Nursery in Walsall.
Hardy geraniums are widespread around the globe in mainly temperate regions. The colour of the dainty and charming flowers tends to be shades of blue, red, pink and white. The speaker gave a useful rundown of all the 12 species that he grows:
- G.cinerium is small, needs good drainage and suits containers.
- G.clarkei is vigorous of medium height needing full sun.
- G.endressii gives good ground cover in a mound.
- G.himalayense is a good filler in the sun.
- G.macrorrhizum loves dry shade under trees.
- G.maculatum is a woodland plant liking moist shade.
- G.nodosum grows in dry shade and is good at the base of hedges.
- G.phaeum flowers early in shade or sun and moist soil.
- G.pratense is native to Europe and is taller, growing in full sun and moist soil.
- G.psilostemen prefers full sun and is suited towards the back of a border.
- G.sanguineum is best in full sun at the front of a border.
- G.sylvaticum likes dappled shade in moist soil.
Mouthwatering photographs of a bewildering choice of plants are to be found on the website at www.cranesbillnursery.com Hardy geraniums are the unsung heroes of the plant world. There is one to suit every position in the garden whether sunny, shaded, moist or dry. They don’t need feeding unless grown in containers. They are not attacked by pests or diseases. They are easy to propagate by division or basal cuttings. As an added bonus they have the mark of approval from the Royal Horticultural Society as Perfect for Pollinators.
What’s not to like? If in doubt, plant a geranium!