Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Johnson's Blue Geraniums Brighten the Garden

I planted two Johnson's Blue geraniums in the front yard last spring and was pleased with the color of the brilliant blue flowers and lacy texture of the geranium leaves. Once the plants died down I wondered if the geraniums would come back well in spring since most geraniums I've dealt in my garden did not die back in winter either in Petaluma or Eureka climates. This spring the Johnson's Blue geraniums plants both came back and grew even bigger than last year, probably a good foot tall and wider still. I'm trying to root a piece or two of the Johnson's geranium so I can produce more of this plant since it is so pretty when flowering. I'm not the biggest fan of the traditional orange and red geraniums but scented geraniums, ivy leaf geraniums and specialty geraniums such as Johnson's Blue I find great additions to the garden. When it comes to dependable garden plants you will rarely find such pest free, sturdy bloomers and hearty plants as geraniums.

I have another geranium in the garden that was planted by the previous home owner. I don't know the name of this particular geranium but it produces smaller purple flowers in comparison to the Johnson's Blue geranium and has similar lacy leaves. This geranium is planted in a white ceramic planter near the back yard gate that also holds pink "naked lady lily" bulbs (Amaryllis belladonna), the leaves entwined with the geranium are lily leaves. If you've ever dug up an Amaryllis belladonna bulb you know they are huge, and similar looking to a sweet potato in shape. Oftentimes you can find these lilies growing wild near the roadside out in the country. They are remarkable for their bare stalk with a number of brilliant pink trumpet shaped lilies at the top of the stalk. The Amaryllis belladonna bulbs send up large leaves that die back then the lily stalk grows and flowers appear later. As you can imagine even a few of these in a ceramic planter would crowd the planter after a few years time. This year the geranium is flowering less, it is usually covered in blooms; I'm pretty convinced it is being edged out by the large lily bulbs. The Amaryllis belladonna bulbs in the white planter managed to crack the planter in half. I'm waiting for the time after the bulbs flower and die back then will dig out the lily bulbs to replant in the yard. We already dug up some other Amaryllis belladonna bulbs from behind our house and planted them in the back yard so adding more to the back yard will be no problem and in fact will be welcomed. I'm hoping the purple geranium plant survives the dividing process and can be saved either in the broken planter or replanted elsewhere in the garden. It should be interesting to find out how many Amaryllis belladonna bulbs are in that planter after all.

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