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phaeum and relatives

Pretty spring flowering plants for shady places, many with variegated leaves.  Clump forming and semi-evergreen they are useful under deciduous trees and shrubs as well as in more open areas, tolerating sun as long as the soil doesn't dry out.  30cm-90cm in flower, most around about 60cm.

The dusky cranesbill (Geranium phaeum) is a British native, albeit rarely seen so is always a good choice if you need a plant you know will do well.  Many of the cultivars grown have originated in continental Europe though, a lot of them wild collected forms from southern central Europe where it is much more commonly seen than in the UK.  Geranium phaeum, Geranium reflexum and their hybrid Geranium x monacense typically grow in deciduous woodland and hedgerows, often in more open areas and clearings.

While most varieties have been selected and named for the varied flower colours (white, pinks and purples), patterns and heights there are also a large number of cultivars that have been named for their coloured, variegated or patterned leaves.  Some, like 'Samobor' have brown markings reminiscent of Pelargoniums, others have white, cream or yellow on green leaves with some starting the year yellow or cream and turning green as they age.

Many people dislike Geranium phaeum as it does tend to self-seed a bit but if you have a semi wild area of shrubs or trees this habit is actually really useful and from a few well chosen cultivars you can have a superb natural hybrid swarm in a few years time.  In more formal, well-gardened areas, it really isn't much trouble to keep the seedlings weeded out and there certainly won't be carpets of them in most gardens.

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Geranium phaeum 'Advendo'

Geranium phaeum 'Advendo'£4.50

Pretty rich purple flowers with some lighter shading. Rounded and slightly ruffled. Mid green leaves. Average soil in shade. 60cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Golden Spring'

Geranium phaeum 'Golden Spring'£4.50

Yellow spring leaves turn green later. Deep pink flowers. 50cm. Prefers shade but will grow in the open if moist enough and respond well if humusy material is incorporated into the soil.


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Geranium phaeum 'Mrs Charles Perrin'

Geranium phaeum 'Mrs Charles Perrin'£4.50

From East Lambrook Manor comes this light pink-purple form with a white centre and swept back petals. Spring flowering, to 60cm. Shade.


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Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'

Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'£4.50

Outstandingly brilliant foliage plant, deserving good soil for the best effect. Leaves have broad zonal rings of chocolate brown. Waxy red flowers in spring to 60cm.


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Geranium phaeum var. hungaricum

Geranium phaeum var. hungaricum£4.50

Unspotted green leaves and dark red flowers with reflexed petals. Sounds dull but it has something about it that makes it a favourite. 50cm. Average soil in shade.


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Geranium x monacense 'Breckland Fever'

Geranium x monacense 'Breckland Fever'£4.50

Our introduction is distinguished by its long flowering, from April to July, and its deliriously feverish rosy-mauve flowers. It’s also extremely spotty. 60cm. Shade, or moist soil in open.


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Geranium x monacense var. anglicum

Geranium x monacense var. anglicum£4.50

This is the hybrid between G. phaeum var. lividum and G reflexum. Clouds of mauve pink flowers with reflexed petals over fresh green unspotted foliage. Average soil in shade or part shade. 50cm.


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