“Be happy grow Geraniums”

Be happy grow geraniums

Rozanne                   Max frei

Hardy geraniums (aka the cranes bill), are wonderful plants for the garden.

Hardy geraniums are one of the most popular perennials in Britain. And it’s easy to see why.

Coming in so many different shapes and sizes Geraniums range from tall growing varieties for the backs of borders to beautifully compact varieties to edge paths and take prime positions in pots and borders.

They are slug resistant and rabbit resistant (hurray!) and they just simply flower and flower.

After their first flush of flowers if you give them a good cut back most will flower again before the end of the summer for you.

They could not be easier!

The majority of Hardy Geraniums come in a relatively restricted range of colours; pinks, blues and whites.  But the range of shades within those colours is widely varied, for example the pinks range from near white with just a hint of pink, to the brightest deep reddish-magentas.  Geranium ‘Patricia’ has a wonderful hot magenta pink flower with a black eye.

Foliage is also an important factor with many Hardy Geraniums, there are varieties with beautifully cut leaves, while others have soft rounded leaves, many are deciduous but there are some that will hold their foliage all year round providing structure and shape to your borders in the midst of winter. Geranium ‘Mavis Simpson’ is an evergreen variety that produces wonderful dollops of grey-green foliage through the winter and pretty soft pink flowers throughout the summer.

Geranium leaf colour ranges from fresh green leaves to rich dark chocolate foliage such as ‘Orkney Cherry’ her leaves are topped off with dainty bright cherry coloured flowers.

Hardy Geraniums are one of the largest groups of flowering garden plants. There are Geraniums suitable for just about any position in the garden, from dark, dry shade through to hot, dry scree. Geranium ‘phaeum Album’ with her pure white flowers will happily, brighten up a shady area of the garden.

There are shorter growing geranium varieties that are great for ground cover.  With their well formed foliage & dainty flowers growing to no more than 30cm tall they are perfect for front of borders or even to be grown in pots. Geranium ‘sanguineum’ has fine, deeply lobed, small leaves topped with magenta pink flowers with a rambling habit.

There has been a recent explosion in interest in Hardy Geraniums from different breeders bringing lots of new varieties to the market.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is one of the best known new introductions, it was voted by the RHS as plant of the Centenary in 2013. With her beautiful, large, blue flowers that are produced non stop from late May to the first frosts.  Her marbled foliage adds to the attractiveness of this variety.  She will grow well in sun and partial shade and will happily ramble through other plants and across the border to provide great ground cover.  Grow her in a tall pot and she will tumble over the edge and trail beautifully for you.

Here at Cramden Nursery we grow a good selection of Hardy Geraniums, pop in to see the different varieties we grow and to ask any questions you might have on how to grow them and which variety to plant where. We are here to help.

 

Getting to know Agapanthus

Agapanthus originate in South Africa, and out there they grow en masse like weeds on the road sides.

Over here in the Uk it is a different story, they have to survive our cold winters and make do with limited sunshine during our English summers. If treated correctly though they can thrive in our gardens and given a little winter care they can produce stunning displays for us throughout the summer.

The flowers are either white or all the different hues of blue you can imagine through into purples.

You have fresh tall white flowers of: Arctic Star and compact growing Snow Pixie with short flowering stems of white flowers at 40 cm tall, perfect for pots or the front of borders, she flowers well into the Autumn months keeping that summer vibe in the garden.

Then there is Northern Star a rich dark blue flower on 75cm tall flowering stems. This is by far the most popular variety we grow with staff and customers alike. Megan’ s Mauve as the name suggests is a mauve blue flower and has a darker stripe down the centre of each flower petal to add to its wow factor.

Agapanthus can be split into 2 categories; Deciduous and Evergreen.

The deciduous varieties lose their leaves at the end of the summer and are generally hardier than the Evergreen types. Remove the dead leaves and mulch with a little straw and they will sit out the winter quietly in borders or pots.

Evergreen Varieties keep their leaves all year round and tend to need a little more winter protection. They have larger flower heads than the deciduous types and have wider leaves.

They are best grown in pots so you can either move the pots into a cold green house for the winter or move them closer to the house or into a sheltered area of the garden to help them through the winter. When the winter temperatures really begin to plummet and if you have left your Evergreen Agapanthus outside you can give them a little extra protection by making them a windbreak with canes and a little plastic. This will help to keep the worst of the cold weather out and if they forecast very cold weather a handful of straw on top of the foliage will help to insulate the plants further. Just remember to make sure you remove this straw as soon as the weather has warmed up slightly or else it will sit and rot on to the leaves.

Growing Agapanthus in pots is a great way to bring those beautiful big flower heads up on to the patio. Agapanthus like to be “Pot Full” but not “Pot Bound” and there is a fine line between the two.

Once an Agapanthus becomes “Pot Bound” the number of flowers it can produce will dramatically reduce and will eventually come to none. This is because it will have got to the point where all that is in the pot is beautiful white roots, all the compost will have been pushed out, so there is no medium left to hold water or fertiliser for the plant to take up. It is at this point you will need to either re-pot into a bigger pot, or to split it up and pot up into 2 pots. Generally every 2-3 years you should be thinking about re-potting or splitting your Agapanthus.

Feed and watering are important jobs for you to consider when growing Agapanthus in your garden. They require regular watering from early spring to the end of summer, they will use a lot to grow and to produce their flowers. A regular liquid feed of a high potash fertiliser from spring to the end of autumn is also important, this will help flower bud production, for this year and for next year. Even after your plants have finished flowering regular watering and feeding will set the plant and buds up for next summers display. What you do this year for your plants, will show in the next summer. Water as regular as needed and feed once or, even better, twice a week.

Agapanthus like full sun, so find them a sunny spot in the garden so they can make the most of all the sunshine. Even after they have finished flowering they will need as much sun as they can get as this will help them set up their blooms for next summer.

Have a look on our You Tube channel “Geranium tv” to find our short films we have made on how to over winter Agapanthus and on splitting them & re-potting Agapanthus.

Agapanthus Winter Care

With only a couple of cold spells here on the nursery so far this winter we have just got around to putting our deciduous Agapanthus (planted out in the border) to bed for the winter.

There are 2 types of Agapanthus, deciduous (lose their leaves and die down for the winter) and evergreen (keep their foliage all year round).

The evergreen types require more winter protection than the deciduous varieties. Ideally they want to be moved inside a green house/conservatory or summer house to keep the worst of the cold off them, or at least moved to a more sheltered area of the garden if they are in pots. Maybe against the house.

If they are planted in the ground, and so can not be moved to help them through the winter, you can create a wind break around them to create a little micro climate.  This should protect them from the worst of the elements, you can also add straw to the top of them when the temperatures really drop.  However, you have to remember to remove this once the warmer weather comes or else it may rot the foliage.

Watch our Youtube video to see how this is done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPgfayLfBy4

Deciduous types are much more easy going.  Cut them back removing all the foliage, and then a mulch with straw will help to protect the crowns.  To keep the straw in place we have used a weed suppressant material ( this is a permeable & breathable membrane, it cuts out the light but this is not a problem as the straw is already doing that) to prevent the straw from blowing away and in our case here on the nursery to stop the foxes playing in it. Or you could use green garden netting to keep the straw in place.

This can all be removed in the spring as the weather and the ground begins to warm up again.

Brilliant Blue

Have you tucked up your Agapanthus for the winter yet?

If you are anything like me, you have managed to put off the cold weather preparation for some of your plants. Until now we have left out Agapanthus outside in their pots but it is now the time to bring them in so they are kept away from the worst of the winter weather.

If you have Evergreen Agapanthus in pots in your garden they would ideally liked to be brought in to a green house or conservatory, neither have to be heated. If this is not possible move their pots closer to the house so they can make the most of the residue heat from your central heating system.

If they are planted in the ground, and so are unable to be moved to help them through the winter, you can create a wind break around them to create a little micro climate. This should protect them from the worst of the elements, you can also add straw to the top of them when the temperatures really drop. However, you have to remember to remove this once the warmer weather comes or else it may rot the foliage.

Watch our Youtube video to see how this is done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPgfayLfBy4

Deciduous types planted in the ground would benefit from cutting back of all their foliage( that will have started to turn yellow), a mulch of straw can also be applied to give them that extra layer of warmth, ensure it is removed in the spring when the new growth will be getting ready to grow.

Evergreen wintercare

Here you can see a wind break for Evergreen Winter care of Agapanthus. Simple yet effective.