It's my belief that some plants are not readily available at garden centers for one major reason...they look awful in pots. If a plant does not pot up "pretty", it's very hard to sell it.
Many years ago I was touring a local garden when I asked about a beautiful perennial that I was unfamiliar with. It was a hardy Geranium, to be exact it was Geranium cantabrigiense 'Biokova'. Luckily the gardener was really into botanical names and she made sure I had the name on a tag plus a nice healthy chunk she insisted I plant in my own garden.
I remember thinking it looked awfully scraggly when I got it home but I put it in the garden without much thought. The next year I was so enamored with this hardy Geranium that I began to search out more varieties. Local nurseries didn't carry more than one or two varieties at a time except for Roslyn Nurseries which used to be in the next town. I bought a pot of Geranium cantabrigiense 'Karmina' (shown in the opening photo) because it was supposed to be the same as 'Biokova' except for the color which was a deeper pink.
This type of hardy Geranium is evergreen, it does not die back in the winter and the foliage turns a nice reddish color. I loved how it cascaded out onto my gravel driveway so it was a natural to add to my raised perennial beds.
This photo was taken on March 24th, four weeks ago. You can see how a large piece of it just hangs down over the rock wall. Since I wanted to pot up some of this for our plant sale I had to address this cascading portion.
None of these photos will win a beauty contest but hopefully they convey my message. Here you can see that I just cut the Geranium along the lip of the rock. Now I could see the part that was rooted into the ground.
Here you can see my hand holding the "cascade portion" up before cutting it.
I dug out a huge chunk of the rooted portion to pot up and at the same time brought the cascade portion to the potting table with me. I hated the thought of throwing it away.
When I looked closely it seemed to me like there were little roots on this portion too but I know they weren't rooted to the rock wall as this piece was very loose, not stuck to the rocks.
The rooted part was a gigantic tangle of stems. It was impossible to tell what was supposed to go in the pot and what was supposed to stick out of the pot. I kept telling myself "green side up" as I tried to make some sense with the stems.
This is what they looked like potted up. I don't have a photo of them today because my husband is in Washington DC and has my camera with him. You'll have to take my word that they don't look much nicer than this, a bit more foliage but more stems than anything.
The odd thing? I put some mud into a plastic wagon and stuck the "cascade portion" on top of it. Every few days I go out and water it. Four weeks later and it still looks like this! Obviously it's not dead but now what do I do?
I'm thinking of filling some pots with soil all the way up, close to the rim. Then taking scissors and cutting this foliage into squares and sticking them on top of the pots. Kind of like sticking a toupee on top of a bald head.
What do you think? I think it's worth a try!