Tag Archive: pink


PicPost: Summer

Rose- picture by Anne Doherty

Rose- picture by Anne Doherty

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Peony- picture byEllen Zillin

Peony- picture by Ellen Zillin

'Zephirin Drouhin' looking good this year on a tunnel at Old School Garden

‘Zephirin Drouhin’ looking good this year on a tunnel at Old School Garden

Roses nodding round the front door or along a pergola or trellis make even the plainest house look pretty, but the thorns on stray shoots can scratch people as they go in and out. Combine beauty with safety by choosing a thornless rose like ‘Zephirin Drouhin’; it is a rich pink, perpetual flowering and heavily scented- and has thornless stems.

A lovely rose, and thornless, too

A lovely rose, and thornless, too

Old School Gardener

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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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Bergenia cordifolia

Bergenia cordifolia

This is a genus of only half a dozen species, but many hybrids. Originally from the moorlands,woodlands and meadows of central and eastern Asia, these evergreen perennials – otherwise known as ‘Elephant’s Ears’ because of their large rounded leaves – are extremely useful as they grow in shade or sun and wet or dry soil.

The leaves are glossy and leathery and colour well in the winter, especially in poor soil. They are excellent ground cover plants, especially in or on the edge of a woodland garden.

The flowers are handsome and are especially welcome in winter and early spring. They also last well in water, and the leaves are also long lasting, making them good flowers for arranging.

Bergenia leaves

Bergenia leaves

They benefit from regular lifting and dividing and this is the best way to propagate them, as gardens with more than one variety can hybridise and produce seed that is not true to the original types. Slugs can be a problem.

Bergenia 'Simply Sweet' in mass planting

Bergenia ‘Simply Sweet’ in mass planting

The Royal Horticultural Society has given its Award of Garden Merit (AGM) to some of the cultivars, including ‘Bressingham White’ and Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’.

Early spring bulbs (Snowdrops, Crocus, Scilla, Wood Anemones) are perfect partners for Bergenia- it’s best to plant both at the same time, ideally in autumn. Alternatively, using a narrow trowel, bulbs can be slipped in between established plants.

Further information:

How to grow Bergenias

BBC Plant finder

Cambridge Botanic Garden (national collection)

Quizzicals: two more cryptic clues to the names of plants, veg or fruit –

  • Helen drives a French car
  • The era of the taxi

Old School Gardener

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