On the 17th July we enjoyed a talk on hardy geraniums from Sue Clark, who holds a national collection of Geranium sylvaticum and Geranium renardii. She is an active member of the Cottage Garden Society and has been involved in the creation of their displays at the NEC for Gardeners’ World Live Show and for the RHS Tatton show. Although Sue describes herself as an avid amateur gardener, she has completed RHS courses at Didsbury College and at Reaseheath.
Sue explained the differences between the geranium and the pelargonium species, often a source of confusion, and discussed , with illustrations, the various types of hardy geranium, and their geographical origins, which helps us the understand the growing conditions that the different types enjoy. It was encouraging to hear that there is a geranium for every type of location in the garden, from the low-growing sanguineums to the shade-loving phaeums and nodosums, even some that can cope at the foot of a Leylandii hedge!
It was also fascinating to see the variety of leaf shape and colour, sometimes with attractive variegation, and this will of course help to extend the season of interest.
When it came to her classification of the ‘Good’ geraniums, we were really spoilt for choice with so many lovely types, but she recommended particularly the Ibericum varieties, the long-established Plenum Violaceum, Amy Doncaster, Elworthy Eyecatcher, and of course the long-flowering Rozanne.
When it came to the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’, Sue assured us that there was really no such thing, provided we keep these over-enthusiastic seeders or spreaders under control, ie Geraniums procurrens, nodosum, pyrenaicum, robertianum, and oxonianum, especially Claridge Druce.
We thanked Sue for a really fascinating talk, during which her knowledge and enthusiasm provided us with a renewed desire to grow more of these lovely and rewarding plants.