Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Geraniums in the Coastal Garden

I have to say in the past I have never been a big fan of the old fashioned lipstick colored geraniums you see planted in gardens. I've learned over the past few years what a workhorse geraniums really are in the garden. I admit we removed some of the old fashioned geranium plants when we first moved here, the orange red color really was not appealing at all and the plants didn't look very good. I did keep three of the geraniums originally planted in the garden and I'm very glad I did. The first geranium shown in the photo is a scented geranium, it has pale pink flowers and lived in a pot for quite a while until I planted it near the arbor under the holly tree. Its doing great so far and is twice as big now as in the photo and full of pink flowers.

The geranium in this photo was a plant that lived in a plastic pot for the first two years we were here. I think this is closer to the old fashioned variety of geranium and I did wonder if I should keep it. The flowers on this plant are very pretty, a deep pink with darker coloring inside the flower. This particular plant flowered profusely in its abusive plastic pot in the shaded spot where it was left by its previous owner. I moved it to a brighter area and finally decided since I'd planted the other pink geranium under the holly tree why not plant this one on the other side under the other holly tree. The geranium started flowering right away after planting and the flowers have turned a deeper shade of pink. Plants under the holly trees do not always do well but both of the pink geraniums have flourished in their new partial shade locations.

This photo shows the re-planting of the dark purple geranium, another original plant in the garden. This geranium was in the white pot in the photo; planted with the geranium the huge naked lady bulbs had cracked the pot open after years of growing too big for the pot. This purple geranium has very similar leaves compared to the Johnson's Blue geranium but has a smaller flower that is distinctly purple and produces flowers all year long. After removing the naked lady bulbs from the cracked pot we added dirt and replanted the plant, watering it in well. A few weeks has gone by and today I saw one lone flower appearing amid the weary leaves and stems of the plant. I think it will recover and be very happy for its new private planter space.

Since moving to the house I've added two Johnson's Blue geraniums and they have been a great addition to the garden along with the original geraniums. I like scented geraniums and the sculpted leaved of the Johnson Blue geraniums, they add scent and shape to the garden and are extremely hardy and reliable. I had a few ivy leaf geraniums in Petaluma in a planter box because nothing else would grow there. They turned out to be good plants with beautiful flowers and leaves. Geraniums do just fine in our cool coastal weather and can tolerate some shade as well. So I'm turning into a fan of geraniums, at least some varieties of them and am glad they are part of my cool weather garden after all.

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