August 24, 2006

How not to grow a hardy geranium

I have not been kind to my bloody cranesbill. So it has responded in kind, rewarding me with one measly blossom all year which I didn't even manage to capture on film, er, in pixels.

Well, if you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning. So here it is, your primer on how not to grow Geranium sanguineum. Album in my case, which is Latin for white, because my bloody cranesbill is white. I feel a rant coming on, but I've already done it, so I'll spare you. (The flowers in the picture are alyssum, so don't be fooled.)

Geranium sanguineum 'Album'Pack the plant in tight between larger taller plants that won't give it much of a chance. Tell yourself that the cranesbill will squeeze between the lily stalks and give them a pretty little cloud of white to emerge from. Tell yourself whatever you like. The plant isn't listening.

Plant and/or divide and/or move around your bloody cranesbill in the spring. It blooms relatively early, so this will put it off and you won't have to contend with any distracting flowers.

Let your cat -or dog - dig in close proximity to freshly transplanted specimens.

Despite having followed the preceding instructions to the letter, my bloody cranesbill is still alive and green and fresh-looking, so I haven't quite mastered the art of killing it, although I've certainly done quite well in depressing it.

I'm going to make a last attempt to grow the stuff properly. The one I moved out front will stay. It suffered mainly from being moved at the wrong time, so it will probably do fairly well with benevolent neglect. The poor crowded specimen in the back will get moved. In the fall, not the spring. Either that or I'll remove the meadow rue that's crowding it, seeing as I'm pretty unhappy with the meadow rue anyway. Sigrun has pleaded with me to leave it, so maybe I'll move it elsewhere and give it a second chance.

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