January 04, 2011

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The Amazing Geranium

Geraniums in Planters.

Clockwise from the top: A magical mix in a window box on the street where I used to live in Paris, Rue Simon Dereure.

Urn at the Jardin du Luxembourg. Bottom and above left: The wall of geraniums at the Chateau du Chenonceau.

With the holidays over and winter now in full swing, its time to get to work on the garden! I did my first garden drafts last July when everything was in full force and I can really see what was working and what didn’t. Now is the time for the fine tuning and adding any newly acquired plant materials “wants” to the plans.

After spending several weeks this autumn in France and England the wants list is running on. The trip gave me a totally renewed appreciation for many old garden favorites, that have sadly become cliche. The poor geranium is one of several familiar fleurs that was on my list. The reason for it being outcast? It’s been a familiar sight to see it used in some really unfortunate municipal plantings, that it seemed to be like the petunia, beyond the pale forever.

That has changed after visiting some magnificent gardens from Paris to the Loire Valley. It was in those gardens that I saw the tried and true geranium hold exalted places of honor in many of the most inspiring gardens. Even though I was there in the early days of October they held their own and looked as good as they must have in mid summer. Here’s to the Geranium.

As a bedding plant.

Clockwise: In pale lavender at the Jardin du Luxembourg Paris. Red geraniums at Chateau de Versailles.

Bottom right: Used as an accent plant at The Grand Palais Paris. Bottom left: Chateau de Versailles.