Hardy Double Geranium pratense ‘Summer Skies’

Geranium pratense 'Summer Skies': hardy geranium with double flowers

Geranium ‘Summer Skies’ is a clump forming perennial that is hardy in the UK. The flowers are pastel coloured doubles with yellow centres . Tiny central petals form a distinctive, open bowl shape. You’ll see the base colour described as sky blue (sky-blue pink is, for once, more accurate); the colour tends to deepen as the flowers age. Dissected foliage and branching stems complete the picture.

The overall effect is ethereal – if fairies were cavorting in and around geraniums, these would be the ones they’d choose. Continue reading “Hardy Double Geranium pratense ‘Summer Skies’”

Great Companion Plants For a Cottage Garden: Geraniums

This post about hardy geraniums, popularly called cranesbills, (not the pelargoniums) is the second in my series on companion plants.

Blue hydrangea with geranium companion plant
Blue hydrangea with a geranium companion

What are companion plants?

Companion plants complement the showy ornamentals society loves – roses, peonies, delphiniums and hollyhocks – filling in the gaps in the flower border and helping it flow. They’re pretty enough on their own terms and happy to mingle in, above or below other plants. Good neighbours, they will not compete too aggressively for food, water or space.

Their presence encourages a healthier ecosystem by attracting beneficial insects which is why companion plants are often recommended for kitchen gardens. To find out more about what makes a plant a good companion, check out the first post in the series, on astrantias. Continue reading “Great Companion Plants For a Cottage Garden: Geraniums”

Geranium x oxonianum

Pale pink geranium with purple lace pattern

I’m a big fan of hardy geraniums and keep promising myself the luxury of a post to share some of the pictures I have gathered of them. The trouble is, they are so rarely labelled. I think this dainty beauty is G. x oxonianum ‘Lace Time’ (or similar). It’s hard to be certain as there are so many named varieties of these hardy geraniums, and often considerable colour variation even within the same clump, as you see.

Setting the difficulties of identification aside, I like the contrast between the flowers in this little cluster. The one on the right looks particularly radiant.  Continue reading “Geranium x oxonianum”