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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Geranium cantabrigiense varieties

Well, since the hardy Geraniums are such unsung heroes, I thought I would continue and list a few more.

The first time I ever heard of a hardy Geranium was when I visited a local garden. The garden owner, Judy, was one of those gardeners who just had to grab a shovel and dig you a piece of anything you admired.

When Judy found out that I had never heard of hardy Geraniums, she insisted on my taking home a piece of Geranium cantabrigiense 'Biokova' which you can see at the top of this photo (very pale pink, almost white). I don't know why I couldn't find a photo of the bloom close up on this variety.

Judy had another interesting trait. She would only grow plants if she could label them with their full botanical name. I had a black Columbine that she lusted over for years but refused to take home because we didn't know it's name. Unfortunately, Judy died way too early in life from breast cancer but her plants still live on in my garden.

One day while nursery hopping, I found a plant with the label Geranium cantabrigiense 'Karmina'. Since I knew 'Biokova' did so well for me, I of course had to try 'Karmina' too. Well, just like her sister, she grew like gangbusters (but not at all invasive) and bloomed like crazy.

Personally, I prefer the color of 'Biokova' a bit more which is unusual for me as I don't usually lean towards pale colored flowers.

Another cantabrigiense type of Geranium in my garden is 'Cambridge' which you can see here. It has almost the same color flower as 'Karmina' but I find a difference in foliage. It seems to have been a slower grower but it could just be because of it's slightly shadier and dryer location.

What's really nice about the cantabrigiense family of hardy Geraniums is that they have evergreen foliage. That is, unless there's ice or snow on the ground. In the fall they exhibit some really nice red highlights too.

I mean really, how could you go wrong with fall foliage like this?

Last year I did a post on dividing these types of Geraniums. I tried something new and they divided so well that I couldn't believe it. If you want to read about it, scroll down and look for the label on the side that says "Plant Propagation". You'll have to scroll past the post on Sedum cuttings and then you'll see how I propagated my hardy Geraniums.

No time to play in the garden today but tomorrow looks hopeful!



Gail said...

I love these sweet flowers and even like the weedy Geranium robertianum! They are the gardens unsung heroes! gail

Sheila said...

I was just talking to someone the other day about how unappreciated geraniums were in the garden. Your are lovely.

Tatyana said...

Nice post. I love hardy geraniums, need to get more for my garden. They grow well under the big fur trees where not many other plants do well. You gave me some names, thanks!

gittan said...

I haven't got any of those... yeat. But the do look great / gittan

Creative Country Mom said...

I have two kinds, a pure white and the lilac one. Sorry, I have no idea the names. Like you they we're from other gardeners. Mine took a full year to take off, then wow... they are a boomin' now. I had 5 in the very front of a border I moved out, and transpalanted them LATE last fall. They died to the ground (When my other starts still looked good), but all came back bigger and stronger this year. I now have them planted at the feet of my roses next to the porch swing. They only bloom once for me, but they are wonderful foilage and pretty in bloom. Great post! ~Brooke

Melanie said...

It still fails to amaze me that the garden centers aren't carrying more of these beauties, especially after finding out last year how well they handle division.

I'm glad to see lots of you are growing them or will be trying them in your gardens :-)

garden girl said...

I have the very pale pink one too Melanie, and it's a beautiful, sturdy plant. I love the evergreen (and red!) foliage.

They do spread, but so far I haven't found them to be at all invasive in my zone 5 dry shade garden. If they start to get too large, they are very easily reduced in size.

Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to try some hardy generaniums. My mom always does the red annual ones every summer, and I never knew there was a perennial version for Z7 till recently.

I have a coupon to a local nursery that I'm trying to use this week - hardy geraniums may be my pick! Love anything that is semi-evergreen. How long do the blooms last? Do they rebloom generally? hmm.