Taking Out the Competition!
Last year I incorporated a daily routine, weather permitting of course of what I call ‘speed gardening’ so my first speed gardening session this year has been tackling cleavers and hairy bittercress in my perennials. They are so annoying because the cleavers creeps through and sticks to any emerging foliage trying to strangle and suppress whilst the other fills the gaps flaunting those little white flowers soon to be seed pods further increasing its population. Both weeds are easy to pull out by the roots, but a little extra care is required with the cleavers so as not to spoil what it’s trying strangle.
Once weeded other plants can regain their space and resources until the next time. After clearing cleavers from around my precious Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ I get to appreciate those beautiful golden maple-leaf like leaves that will be followed by long stems carrying small magenta flowers through some of the lower shrubs and around other perennials too. I love this one so much that she’s in several places around the garden.
Geraniums are great perennials to use all over the garden because they have various growing habits, sizes and coloured flowers making them very versatile. There are good ground smotherers like G. sanguineum ‘Alan Bloom’ and G. phaeum ‘Saturn’, these look very different from each other. Alan Bloom is mound forming with dark green deeply cut leaves followed by small pink flowers that stand out perfectly against the foliage and grows in full sun or partial shade. G. ‘Saturn’ is a clump forming perennial with typical larger maple-like shaped leaves that are distinctively marked and is later followed by small slightly unusual dark purple flowers held above the foliage in clusters, this is very useful too as it has some drought tolerance once established too.
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ has made a name for herself over the years as being an award winning good performer with a long season of blue flowers and white centre, but a similar version is ‘Azure Rush’, a beautiful sport of ‘Rozanne’ with a compact habit that makes it ideal for growing in a container.
So when you are considering perennial planting why not take a good look at geraniums because I’m sure you will spot one that you like for your garden and it will give you years of enjoyment.