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Old fashioned Geraniums - beautiful
Member Name: madeindevon
Advantages: Excellent ground coverage, very pretty plant
I am a big fan of old fashioned, country-type gardens. I am not a "gardener" as such, so I like to plant shrubs and flowers that are practically zero maintenance.
In my previous home, we had cleared an area of the garden to put a shed in place, and was left with a space suitable for a brand new flower bed.
The ground was quite stoney, it backed onto a small wall and had full sunshine almost all day. I must add that I prefer plants in the garden that do not need constant watering, morning and evening as I just do not always get the time.
Whilst visiting family I admired a lovely colourful display in a corner of their garden and was told that the plant in question was called Cranesbill, an old fashioned Geranium - why didn't I take a cutting?
I took three cuttings in fact.
Cranesbill is about a foot high, and quite thick with leafy foiliage, when you put your hand into the plant you can tell that the leaves are on long stalks and they come from one plant - this one plant then re-shoots up a few inches away and another plant grows, again with many shoots. From an established growing clump of Cranesbill it is very easy to ease a small plant out of the ground, without effecting the rest of the plant. The cuttings I took (or rather the small plant I tugged out of the ground) each had its own root and had about four small stems coming from it and these stems all had young leaves.
I gave these cuttings a couple days in a glass of water before I transplanted them, but I do wonder if I actually needed to - as this plant seems so resilient. The flower bed I planted them in was about a metre wide and a quarter of a metre deep. I planted the three plants at equal intervals in this bed and watered them daily. Obviously at first they wilted and my thoughts were that it was typical, as I am not usually one for gardening and transplanting - however within a week you could tell that the Cranesbill was coming back to life, within a couple weeks there were extra leaves and stems.
Two years later the whole of the flower bed was filled with Cranesbill! (along with various other corners of my garden, as it is so easy to take cuttings, that I dotted the plant around all over)
Throughout the spring and very early summer the foliage and leaves come to life on this plant, by early summer the Cranesbill is flowering, a mass of pink small flowers - after the flowers die off you are left with a large green ground coverage, which the slugs and snails are not interested in at all. Over the winter months the plant dies off and is just old decaying foliage, which I would take one afternoon each Autumn to cut back down to ground level and that is it! the next Spring the Cranesbill arrives thicker and stronger than the year before.
This plant is the most perfect ground coverage, and great for low or no maintenance gardeners - don't be fooled by the name, this plant is not the same as the pot plant type Geranium, or the ones you see in hanging baskets, it is a more traditional and slightly unruly plant, from a cottage garden.
There are so many variants of this plant and so many colours - it would be easy to fill up flower beds and corners with different colours.
You can buy this plant easily from garden centres and nurseries, for around £5 a plant, but in my experience you should try not to and ask a neighbour for a cutting, as they grow like crazy and as I mentioned taking a cutting does not affect the plant or its appearance in the slightest.
Right - now we are finally in the Spring of this year - time to locate various different colours of this plant for my new house.
Summary: Perfect plant for people who like the garden to look colourful but are not great gardeners