Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
Thanks, alta. It's quite pretty. Is that geranium 'Biokovo'? I bought a couple of "roots" last year. They were misplaced, and I found them quite crispy in the garage about two months later. I am thinking about ordering them again. They look very happy in your garden. It looks like you have this pretty combo in quite a bit of shade?
Thanks for showing the picture.
Yes, birder, that is Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'. That area is part shade due to surrounding trees. Having said that, most geraniums are not too fussy about light at all here. This is not a hot area though (we only get a few >80 degree F days during the brief summer), probably unlike your area.
Thanks, again. Oh yes, we usually have temps in top 90's with humidity. However, this year was unusual. We had temps in the low 100's with a breeze and not much humidity.
I think I am going to get that geranium and the Adenorpha t..
Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' does spread by rhizomes (a habit which all Geranium x cantabrigiense cultivars get from the parent G. macrorrhizum) but slowly and, yes, it is easy to control. It doesn't root deeply and any unwanted advances can be cut off and discarded or rooted for planting elsewhere.
I have a few different geranium cantabrigiense and they are a good spreader here. The leaves turn reddish in fall, and they have a pine scent. I highly recommend them. Definitely not invasive here. Leaves are pretty all season, and they bloom for a long time.
I bought my Biokovo in the early 80's for a house in Southampton, LI. I've moved and shared it ever since. For me it has always filled in quickly but never exceeded its territory. One friend has it under a Japanese Maple, and never has to weed there any more. At this house in CT I brought 1 plant 3 years ago from my Mom's house on LI. Last fall I moved it into 3 new areas.
Pic 1 is from last spring, tucked in under the Rhodie. I had moved and spread it out the previous fall, and it already made a pretty good display. I decided it was too pink for all those silvers and blues, and planned to move it again in the fall. By then it was twice the size.
Pics 2 & 3 in September I put it around some baby Brandywine Viburnums and along a ledge under a box hedge just opposite, dividing it quite small. The last few went under some white Hydrangeas.
The funny thing is, I originally bought it from Spring Hill as AT Johnson, and for years that's what I called it. Only recently I discovered the ATJ re-blooms, and mine does not. And mine in bloom look exactly like every picture I've ever seen of Biokovo. Another nice feature of this plant is that the leaves stay fresh and pretty all summer, and take on a reddish tinge in the fall.
Thank you all for the good news. I was given several geraniums by a king DGer because I gave him some lilies and he insisted on reciprocating. I had never had any before and fell in love. And then the light really came on when I found what I believe to be a geranium maculatum in the yard of my new house (celebrating one year). Its delicacy blew me away. It was next to the neighbor's chain link fence. I recognized it as looking at the ones growing wild on the trails. But there was only one. Don't they spread?
I also inherited a huge hydrangea macrophylla that the owner said had never bloomed in 20 years. It bloomed blue, pink and purple. Since it had never bloomed it had been dumped next to the neighbor's chain link fence. I moved it too.
The other surprise was a quite large dicentra, which worked really well with my new oakleaf hydrangea and athyrium nipponicum 'Ursula's Red'.
It almost made me forget the billion wild strawberries, ditch lilies, and the relentless march of the lily of the valley, the latter of which if left alone destroys every other plant in its path.
Love the pictures and good info on the Geranium cantabrigiense 'Biokova'.
I was looking at Swallowtail Seeds this evening. They have a Geranium sanguineum 'Vision Light Pink'.
How does this one compare to Biokova? Does anyone have any experience growing this one?
I have several Geranium sanguineum (self-seeded) in the yard - it's an excellent plant with showy flowers and brilliant fall colour... possibly my favourite geranium. It does not spread by rhizomes (it's tap-rooted), so differs from G. X cantabrigiense in that respect.
'altagardener', funny you mention "fall colour" as I have always been impressed with the geranium MAX FREI. I know this is a very common, often used hardy geranium plant but it has so much going for it:
- tons of flowers in the spring (a little rebloom in the fall)
- so very compact and tight
- nice fall colour
I have one G St Ola. I didn't realize it would behave the same as Biokovo. I bought a few white geraniums in 2011, and that's the only one that survived. I was so happy to see it grow and bloom last year that I didn't want to risk it. It's tucked under a long established, low growing box hedge and has done well with nearly no attention after that first summer, surprising as box roots are so greedy. I'll be sure to spread it around more next year now that I know...
I really like these Geraniums c. They are so quietly beautiful. Thanks to all for sharing their pics and their info. I did not about these Geranium cantabrigiense that they would slowly spread-what a neat characteristic and their blooms are upright and perky. I will be getting some of these this year!
Here's a picture of some fall color on my sanguineum.
I think it's an underappreciated feature of this great plant.
I also have a smaller version, g. sanguineum nanum
- blooms great, nice fall color, just a couple inches tall.
Cute, cute, cute!
The fall color on the Geranium sanguineum is striking. How does the fall color compare between Geranium cantabrigiense vs. Geranium sanquineum? I like the idea of the spreading capability, but I also like the tap root as I think it would not require as much water after it is once established. They are all pretty.
We get annual total precipitation of about 16 inches (including snow). Geranium sanguineum is very drought hardy (have never, ever even seen one wilt); G. X cantabrigiense is a little less so but still very tough.
So, which of the geraniums we have mentioned are most true pink? I think I would like a mix of a pink one and a white with the pink centers. I am finding it a little hard to discern the colors on the computer.
What about G Endressi Wargrave Pink? I don't have it now, but used to, and it's a lovely color. It's also quite well behaved, as I remember. Google has lots of info on it... And I'm sure people here know it.
Hi everyone. I did a lot of research on hardy geraniums, and the data on this thread was really helpful. I kept doing research and ended up putting some thoughts on the "Your Planned Purchases for 2013" thread started by Rogue, including my hardy geranium info. But since many of my best ideas came from you lovely people, I thought, if you don't mind, that I would post my opinions, and those of others, here:
Forest Farm has very nice geraniums in tubes that you can get for $5.95 or so. After tons of research, I am seriously considering the cantabrigienses Cambridge, St. Ola and Westray. Cambridge and St. Ola I think are musts. They also have the striatum sanguinium dwarf pink and Sweet Heidi. I will make my final choices soon.
Dave's Garden has been invaluable for choosing, as well as other sites visited by gardeners. Providers want you to buy. I'm trying to avoid what people characterize as floppy or as having other issues. These are just opinions, mind you. Let me share my notes, in case this is helpful. These are the opinions I gathered:
Brookside has to be cut back – not terribly floriferous
Geranium Blushing Turtle – nice but zone 6 according to Forest Farm
Geranium Orkney Cherry – long flowering, low maintenance, zone 5 but I didn't think it pretty enough
Geranium Patricia – long flowering but not pretty enough?
Geranium Rozanne – very mixed reviews
And the pluses I am choosing from: these are all only my opinions. I wanted zone 5 hardiness and tubes. They are all available at Forest Farm:
Geranium Sweet Heidi. Forest Farm
Geranium cantabrigiense St. Ola - absolutely yes, stunning, Forest Farm
Geranium endressii Wargrave Pink. Really good, gets really big. Forest Farm tube 5.95
Geranium cantabrigiense Cambridge - spreading, Forest Farm tube 5.95 blue
Geranium renardii gorgeous, and Forest Farm
Geranium sanguinium. striatum (lancastriense) - Dwf Pnk Hardy Geranium very nice Forest Farm
I hope you don't think I'm presumptuous, but I spent so much time putting together the data that I thought that I should share it if anyone else wants to use it.
You really shouldn't believe the majority of the zone ratings in DG (or elsewhere for that matter)... inaccurate zone ratings are the major bug-a-boo of this site, IMO. It's unfortunate that once they are entered, the entry is "locked down" and to make further entries, you actually have to write to an administrator. In general, the hardiness of a great many perennials is underestimated in written accounts, sales literature (which typically gets copied into sites like this), etc..
'Patricia' is an absolutely magnificent hybrid geranium (one of my favourites) that blooms heavily throughout the season here... however, it's huge and depending what one is looking for, not exactly interchangeable for G. x cantabrigiense cultivars which are quite small and therefore good for the front of the border.
Donna: Presumptuous? On the contrary, that's incredibly helpful. BTW, the June 2012 Fine Gardening reported on 180 geraniums.
Alta -- I've heard Patricia is lovely. Curiously, Fine Gardening only gave it one star and said the flower coverage was "fair." LazyS has it -- and American Meadows has it for about half that $6.48). I suppose it isn't worth the gamble to order from American Meadows...
Aaawww, Donna, thank you for sharing your research. Of course, each of us will make our final choices, but thanks for taking the time to write your info.
I really must make my order/s for seeds and plants. I keep doing research. Rehearsing what I already have in my gardens, and what needs to be moved or added to. I have a huge list...that Will Be shortened! Even if I could afford all these plants, I simply don't have the room. I keep thinking I will get to this list and order, but something else always seems to come up.
I haven't checked out the 2013 Purchases by Rogue yet. I assume it's in the perennial forum. There's always so many good ideas DG members share.
Alta: You have been great to share all of your pictures and information about Geraniums. Again, I thank you and the others for sharing their pics and information.
I didn't mean it as a putdown. I meant it as encouragement to branch out and try to grow the plants that interest you, and see how they do in your conditions and then be the judge yourself of their attractiveness, usefulness, hardiness, etc.. You may well be pleasantly surprised and your info may help to inform others.
If I followed the advice in Fine Gardening (which, among gardening mags, I consider to be a good one) or in the majority of gardening books I've read or own, the selection of perennials I'd be growing here would be incredibly small. Instead, I'm growing many hundreds of species simply because I disregarded the published info and tried them myself.
Beth, it really sounds like your microclimate is warmer than typical for your 'zone.' Even in my old zone 6 garden, which is now supposedly 7, Victoria never ever survived the winter for me. And Dahlias? And glads?! Lucky you!
That's exactly what I do. I overwintered salvia farinacea outside. I actually overwintered four different kinds: Gruppenblau, Reference, Strata and Victoria White. Since I grew them from seed, it was worth the experimentation (cheap!)
As for Fine Gardening, I thought it was a good starting point, but I find that a lot of books on certain kinds of plants (particularly hydrangeas and geraniums) are written by British authors. While very nice, the "Brit Books" are not helpful, although the pictures are wonderful. Nor are books, for me, by Colorado based writers. It was a long time before I could find books written for midwest soil. There are a lot of $15.00 geraniums out there. I used to subscribe to Fine Gardening and Garden Design, but now I look at them in the library because they tend to recommend the very new and expensive, which can be unreliable.
I was simply sharing my research and my reactions to it. I have a very large number of plants that I have never seen in anyone else's yard, because I push microclimates and do a lot of overwintering in my garage. I don't need encouragement, especially when phrased as you wrote it, the effect of which perhaps you did not forsee. I have found, though, that getting it wrong can be quite expensive. I had five viburnum plicatum tomantosum Lanarths that worked for 5 years in their supposed zone 5a yard (which I had) only to all die in one year. $250 plus shipping.
Evidently you thought I was quite unsophisticated. I gave some thought to simply deleting what I wrote, but perhaps it is helpful to someone. I spent quite some time researching them, and by providing the links, I was trying to let people have a look. My reactions were my reactions, not my recommendations.
Donna: What you wrote was exactly on point for me, and is really the reason I love to follow these threads. I completely agree regarding the location of writers -- I used to follow British writers and west coast writers, but what works for them doesn't work at all for me. I'm in 7a, but I find many many 7a plants just don't make it here because of winter wet. I'm trying to amend my soil to make it less clay-ey, but on the other hand, I'm trying to get plants that like my soil so I'm not constantly in an uphill battle.
I do love geraniums. My first favorite was Johnson's Blue, but I not longer am in love with it: it winds around too much, rather than filling in. I don't mind if plants are not floriferous, but I do like them to be dense.
Donna, I'm glad you posted the results of your research. When I become interested in a new-to-me cultivar or type of plant, I often like to look around at what other people say, both here and via Google, before deciding whether or not to take the plunge.
Although I enjoy looking at gardening magazines for inspration, I agree that they are vehicles for publicity for the industry. Even with the best intentions of the writer, the usually cheaper tried-and-true versions are not given the space of new entries, some of which don't fulfill their early promise over time and disappear from the market after a season or two.
For me, DG has been a wonderful source of reams of horticultural knowledge, including the introduction to many classic and newer plants -and their quirks- that I might never have known about otherwise. I must admit that sometimes I have to resist the urge to get one-of-this and one-of-that because so-and-so has it, not always successfully. But for me, gardening is trial and error until I get the effect I want with plant material that likes where I put it, which I guess is the whole point of trying in the first place.
So ultimately, yes, I make up my own mind, based on what I can learn about a plant and what my garden tells me about its probability of success.
When I'm looking at my garden I see what I expect to happen, in addition to what's actually there. When reality differs too far from the dream picture, I change something...and isn't there always something?! And that, I think, is what keeps it interesting!
I so agree with your point about "tried and true" plants. It is sometimes very hard to find out about them. Plus, with the push for ever biggest blooms, often the plant itself becomes less handsome or tough. I'd much rather have a plant for the ages, than one that will just "wow" for one season...
Please guys, let's not beat up on alta. I really don't think she meant to say anything mean. It just came out not quite right which can happen sooo easily when we are all chatting on a website. She's offered valuable information on Geraniums and lovely pictures. I think she was sincerely trying to help all of us.
Again, alta, I thank you for your information and pictures.
And, Donna, I thank you for all of your research and sharing it with us.
Both of you are wonderful gardeners and invaluable to this website.
I too believe buying newly introduced plants is risky not to mention expensive. Sometimes the simplest plants and old stand bys can really fit the bill.
I have looked for years for a good Garden Book for Midwest Americana. Donna, if you have found one, please give the Title. And, I will hope it's still in print!
I bought packets of seed today for a nickel ea.! I bought some Calendula and others. It is suppose to be a good companion plant to Many plants. I mostly use it with my vegetable plants. It also attracts beneficial insects.
Sorry, Alta, my comments were strictly personal, not meant as critical. I have seen your posts many times in many places and have tremendous respect for your knowledge and expertise. I hope you didn't take offense, none was meant.
I was interested in the questions raised by different points of view, and trying to explain what goes into my opinions and decisions based on my own experience. I agree it's silly to follow blindly, one man's zone 6 is another's 5 (like mine!).