Or should that be pink? As May draws to a close, the hardy geraniums, or cranesbills, have their star ascending.
Along the boundary, handfuls of Geranium macrorrhizum from my Mum’s garden now scurry, resplendent with clusters of magenta flowers. We have one paler version of this plant too, which I hope will spread as enthusiastically. These are hard-working ground-cover plants, brightening up shady spots or blazing in the sun, and weave a delicate tapestry along the base of our native hedge.
I was intrigued that several clumps of finely cut Geranium foliage around the borders, that had been drawing up in height all month, suddenly all pushed out flowers on the same day, including the beautiful sterile G. Orion above; a gift from my Mum’s garden last year.
There are several clumps of the more purple-flowered plant above, which Mum had been told was Johnson’s Blue, an identification that she was not convinced about. Research suggests that these are some form of G. x magnificum. I am enjoying their handsome blooms, which are new to the garden this year.
In flower for several weeks now, the sprawling, low, small-leaved cranesbill above, whose black-eyed magenta flowers are loved by bees and butterflies alike, was rescued from the remains of the original front garden here. I have recently identified it as the alpine Geranium cinereum ‘Subcaulescens’.
In a similar hue, and just as vivid, the larger pale-eyed flowers of Geranium sanguineum, also rescued from the remains of the front garden, seem to have an electric blue halo around them that the camera does not entirely capture. These form small neat mounds of dissected foliage at the front of the border.
There are a few other young hardy geraniums about the garden still to come into flower and add to this wonderful symphony of colour in the weeks to come, including the first pure white bloom on another cut-leaved G. sanguineum that has appeared in the past day or two, in its first year of flowering for us. These are just a tiny selection of plants from a genus that encompasses many forms of flower and foliage; a collection that I hope to extend.