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Ground Control


You can’t go wrong with a geranium. They grow well where other plants struggle, particularly those shady areas, or parts of the garden with poor soil. And they are so useful - they provide hundreds of pretty fl owers and also smother the ground with a welter of leaves that prevent weeds from taking hold.


Don’t confuse these hardy geraniums with the tender bedding plants with the horseshoe leaf-markings. They may be commonly called geraniums but they are in fact pelargoniums and not hardy so would perish in a hard frost. True geraniums are as tough as old boots. There are loads to choose from off ering a wide range of colours and habits.


If you want a carpet of tiny pale pink saucer fl owers try Geranium sanguineum striatum. It’s great for growing in the crevices of a garden path, or even in a shallow tub or sink where its fi nely cut leaves show of the fl owers to their best advantage.


Geranium macrorrhizum is probably the most reliable ground cover of them all. It creates a low dense mass of aromatic hairy leaves about 30cm / 12 inches high. The fl owers open in late spring and there are varieties in white, pale pink or magenta. These are followed by bright red seedheads providing interest well into the autumn.


Propagation is ridiculously easy. Simply rip up a clump of the thick creeping stems and push them into the ground where you want them to establish. Make sure they don’t dry out and you can be assured of success.


If you’d like a plant with a bit of height go for Geranium psilostemon. This grows to about 1.5m / 5 feet. It has deep magenta fl owers with a black eye, and is a great self-seeder.


If you struggle with a patch of denser shade I can recommend the blue-fl owered Geranium himalayense, and also ‘Johnson’s Blue’. Both will form clumps about 30cm / 12 inches high.


Whether you have a new garden which needs to be fi lled with colour, or an established garden with a few bald patches, plant hardy geraniums and you won’t be disappointed.


24 To advertise in thewire t. 07720 429 613 e. fi ona@thewireweb.co.uk


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