Hardy geraniums have gorgeous flowers and are very easy to grow.
There are many types of geraniums - not to be confused with the greenhouse sort - these are the deciduous hardy ones that grow to 24-26 inches (60-75cm) and are a common sight in English Gardens.
To get the best flowers you need to grow them in a sunny spot but they will grow in partial shade as long as they get the sun for part of the day. They are very good natured and very low maintenance and will grow in most soils, except for waterlogged ones when they will turn up their toes and die!
Cranesbills or geraniums come in a range of colors - whites, blues, pinks and purples and they will give you a wealth of blooms over a long period. They will spread to make glorious clumps.
Plant them under shrubs or in your borders - they can look very good planted as path edging although you will need to trim them back each year. They can also be grown in pots - give them plenty of root space and they will make a delightful display.
They go well with many English Garden plants and are often used with spring flowering bulbs. This is because as the spring flowers die back the cranesbills come to life and as their green foliage grows it covers the dying bulbs and then you get an explosion of flowers in early June!
Here is my selection of the best ones for an English Garden - they are all hardy.
- Ann Folkard has bright magenta petals and black middles which often flowers from June to October, the foliage is a pronounced yellowy green. Do try some.
- Geranium psilostemon - armenum has magenta flowers and foliage that goes a lovely shade of orangey/red in the autumn.
- Geranium sylvaticum, Mayflower has delicate violet blue flowers that have paler middles.
- For white flowers try Geranium clarkei Kashmir White, which is white with a lilac tinge to its petals and flowers all summer.
- Geranium magnificum has violet blue flowers with delicate darker veining.
- Johnson's blue pictured above has dark lavender blue petals.
- Geranium cinereum Ballerina is smaller only growing to 6 inches or 15cm but has pale pink flowers with darker centers and silvery green leaves and does well planted in pots.
Enjoy your garden!