Tag Archive: blue


Blue Iris by Gina Gray

Blue Iris by Gina Gray

Anemone by Andrea Mc Donagh

Anemone by Andrea Mc Donagh

WP_20131109_022I couldn’t resist a trip to Amsterdam’s Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt) at the weekend. My wife- whose birthday was the real reason for being in the city- was very tolerant (as she usually is when I lag behind at garden visits, soaking up the atmosphere, photographing or studying the plants).

We gazed at the wonderful displays (me rather more spellbound than her, I think), and of course couldn’t resist a purchase of some unusual blue tulip bulbs (I will be amazed if they don’t turn out to be more of a purple). Well, I say some tulips, when in reality I fell for the offer of 4 packs of 10 for 10 euros. I found some lovely violet-coloured and white varieties which will work well together and provide a good spread of flowers over April – June.

I must have looked like I knew what I was doing, because a lady from Shropshire got talking and asked my advice about what to buy. I explained my thinking: blue is an unusual colour, you don’t see very often in the UK (or at least that’s my experience). I was also looking for different shaped flower heads, colour combinations and flowering periods. She seemed impressed. In fact she ended up coming away with more or less the same choice as me. That got me thinking that maybe I could offer a consultancy service to the bulb seller? But no, I was here for other things, after all.

All I’ve got to do now is decide where to plant the 70 bulbs I brought home (I forgot to tell you that my wife was also given a present of 30 mixed tulips as one of her birthday presents).

Old School Gardener

PicPost: Veinglorious

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'

Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’

Geraniums comprise over 400 species of annual, biennial and perennial plants commonly known as ‘Cranesbills’. They originate from around the globe.The perennials are very useful as border plants, with beautiful flowers. They are easy to grow, long lasting and are useful ground cover. Underplanted with spring bulbs, their leaves are good at hiding untidy bulb foliage after flowering. They also give new life to a border otherwise left bare when the spring bulbs are over.

They don’t like waterlogged soil and so in the wild you find them all habitats except boggy ones. They are a diverse group, varying in both hardiness and their growing needs. G. malviflorum is unusual in that it makes top -growth through the winter, flowers in spring and disappears until winter!

Geranium pratense (Meadow Cranesbill)

Geranium pratense (Meadow Cranesbill)

Geranium platypetalum

Geranium platypetalum

Geranium dissectum

Geranium dissectum

Most Geranium flowers are saucer-shaped, but can be flat or star like. They can come in umbels, panicles or cymes. They range in colour from white to dark plum through an array of pinks, blues and purples. Leaves are grouped around the base and the stem and are often deeply divided and toothed, and some are evergreen.

Many species are floppy or scramble and most need some sort of support to make them look reasonable. They all need shearing over the autumn/winter to encourage new basal growth, and some species, if sheared immediately after flowering will put on a second flush of leaves and flowers. Propagate by taking semi-ripe cuttings in summer, by seed, or by division in autumn or spring.

Geranium sanguineum showing 'bill' which aids seed dispersal

Geranium sanguineum showing ‘bill’ which aids seed dispersal

Most are drought tolerant and all are low in allergens. Some, such as G. nodosum and G. procurrens root when their stems touch the soil and G. thunbergii self seeds to a considerable extent, so should be deadheaded before the seeds form, if you want to restrict its spread.

Pelargoniums are often given the common name ‘Geranium’- both genuses are members of the Geraniaceae family. both were originally part of one family as defined by the botanist Linnaeus.

Geranium maculatum

Geranium maculatum

Geranium maderense

Geranium maderense

Further information:

10 AGM Hardy Geraniums for the garden- RHS

‘Geraniums- my hardy heroes’ – article by Bunny Guinness

Geraniums for shady places

National Collection of Geraniums- Cambridge Botanic Garden

Geranium phaeum - from Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885

Geranium phaeum – from Thomé ‘Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz’ 1885

Old School Gardener

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