Plant of the month - geraniums

Hardy perennial geraniums are the quiet doers of the garden.  They’re reliable, tough and incredibly useful at filling gaps, especially around the woody stems of shrubs like roses and smothering bare earth.  Most cope with sun or dappled shade so they link parts of the garden beautifully.

The blue ‘cranesbill’ geraniums such as G. ‘Johnson’s Blue’, G. ‘Brookside,’ G. ‘Orion’ and taller pearl grey G. pratense 'Mrs Kendall Clark' are lovely dotted around the garden.  These tend to flower from early summer and can be cut back for a second flush, whilst varieties such as Geranium ‘Rozanne’ with large mauve flowers, will keep flowering until September.  It has a spreading habit so needs space.  G 'Azure Rush’ is a more compact alternative.

For deeper shade, spring flowering geranium varieties such as G. phaeum ‘Black Widow’, with its deep purple black flowers, the gorgeous slightly browner G. phaeum ‘Samobor’, or  G. phaeum ‘Album’ with airy sparkly white flowers are all great for lighting up dark corners.  Semi-evergreen, matt forming Geranium macrorrhizum act as excellent weed suppressants while Geranium sylvaticum varieties are also shade tolerant.

For smaller spaces, Geranium sanguineum will keep going until August.  Try G. sanguineum var. striatum for a dash of pretty pale pink.  If at the other extreme you’re looking for a big bold splash, Geranium psilostemon and Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ with vibrant magenta flowers and purple black eyes are stunning, but need space.