Gorgeous Geraniums at Cambridge Botanic Garden
|Author: Juliet Day, Cambridge Botanic Garden||Published: 16th May 2012 11:31|
Geranium x cantabrigienseThis month you should be able to find several species of wild Geranium growing along hedgerows and in meadows, including the delightful and dainty pink Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) and the deep blue Meadow Cranesbill, (Geranium pratense).
This appealing group of plants are relatively easy to grow in any free-draining soil, and with their versatility, hardiness and beauty, many make indispensable garden plants. They range in colour from white to dark plum through an array of pinks, blues and purples. Underplanted with spring bulbs, they make excellent work of enveloping the untidy bulb foliage after flowering, and give new life to a border otherwise left bare when the spring bulbs are over.
We have one of the National Collections of Hardy Geraniums at the Botanic Garden, and cultivate them across the site, but the bulk of the collection, including many common hybrids and their parent species, is grown in the long Lynch Walk border. Here they are grown together with herbaceous and tree peonies - a stunning combination. On the Systematic Beds, the family Geraniaceae can be found on the western side, where the related pelargoniums, known as bedding geraniums, are also grown for comparison. Geraniums flower from late spring to early summer, but the majority are at their best in early June. Cutting spent flowers and foliage to the ground will encourage a flush of fresh leaves and sometimes a second flowering.
Amongst the Garden's collection are several hybrids and cultivars named by Dr Peter Yeo, taxonomist at the Garden for 40 years. One of the best is Geranium ‘Brookside' a superb, long-flowering garden plant named after the Garden's administrative offices, which was awarded an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society in recent trials. Another with a Cambridge connection is Geranium x cantabrigiensis, which makes excellent groundcover in both sun and shade with light green foliage and pink to white flowers. So, with a bewildering choice of several hundred Geranium, why not come and research which to choose for your garden at the Botanic Garden!
© Juliet Day, Development Officer, Cambridge University Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden is open 10am - 6pm in April - September. Adult admission is £4.50 (Giftaid admission £4.95) or join the Friends, get free admission & help the Garden grow! For news and events, detailed information about the Garden or to discover this week's Plant Picks from the Head of Horticulture, please visit the website at http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/