This blushing geranium, technically, a pelargonium, has the good fortune to live in a traditional terracotta pot on a narrow ledge in a greenhouse at Stourhead, with several unusual varieties. I suppose that lends it some aristocratic credentials, although the aptly named P. L’élégante would be graceful even if a cutting somehow found itself transferred to the sunny windowsill of a greasy spoon caff. (Please don’t look like that – I’m not one of those who smuggle the odd plant cutting, though I cannot vouch the same for all people of my acquaintance).
When the pelargonium and I were formally introduced (this was at Stourhead, remember), its pretty white flowers seemed almost inconsequential compared to the foliage: tumbling, ivy shaped leaves with creamy margins, suffused pink.
Not all internet pictures of this variety show the pink colour I found so attractive: the blush effect is more likely to appear in full sun or when the plant is kept on the dry side.
This might seem an obscure detail, but having almost dismissed the flowers, I was later struck by the cream sepals, each with a central stripe of green, like a finishing brushstroke lovingly applied by the artist.
But then, plant cultivars are all about getting the finer details right. This good old variety is an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) winner, which means that the Royal Horticultural Society have given it their stamp of approval.
I dare say this puts me firmly in the (small?) class of people who visit Stourhead for the first time and come away raving about an ivy leaf pelargonium. I just like flowers. My sweetheart teased me not long afterwards for apparently ignoring a lovely series of waterfalls while exploring Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, instead exclaiming with joy then gleefully clambering up the hillside to try to photograph some tiny harebells, bobbing on thin stems on the wind.
For those who have never heard of Stourhead, the National Trust describes it as:
Perhaps the most beautiful of all the great landscape gardens… an English 18th Century view of Arcadian paradise.
I’m linking this flower portrait to Earth Laughs In Flowers as part of HeyJude’s September GardenChallenge and am leaving you with a misty view of Stourbridge in an attempt to persuade you its many beauties didn’t entirely escape me.