Hardy Geranium Group
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About the Group
The Hardy Geranium Group was formed in 1974 when interest in the plants was booming. There are now approx. 110 species and 600 cultivars in British gardens. They range in height from a few cm. to 1m. and in colour from white through pink, mauve and pale blue to deep magenta, violet and blue. There is a geranium for every site in the garden: hot and sunny or dry shade. Margery Fish famously said “When in doubt, plant a geranium.”
We are still the only association dedicated solely to this large family of garden-worthy plants, which have been voted the Hardy Plant Society’s favourite flowers. Our members provide advice and information about the plants to gardeners, nurserymen and journalists in the UK and abroad. Membership is open to all members of the HPS and we welcome those who are not specialists but would like to know more.
The Group organises a geranium and erodium seed exchange. Seed should be sent in by Nov 1st. The seed list is available at the end of November and details are published in the Autumn newsletter. The list is sent out to all members.
Hardy Geranium Day and AGM
The Geranium Day will be held in Nottinghamshire next year on Saturday June 17th 2017. The speaker will be Dr. Andrew Ward and we shall be visiting Norwell Nurseries. More details later.
2016 Geranium Day Report
A rainy morning greeted us all as we arrived at Powick Parish Hall, near Worcester, on Saturday 11th June for the Geranium Study Day. However, this did not deter a good turnout of members, several of whom had generously brought a good supply of plants. These plants, together with crates of delectables from Bob Brown, resulted in busy and successful sales tables. .
Margaret Stone offered everyone a warm welcome and the formalities began with the AGM, which was concluded quickly and efficiently. It was followed by Bob Brown giving us a fascinating and thought-provoking talk on 'Geraniums- Restraint and Discrimination'. Unsurprisingly, not everyone agreed that G. x oxonianum 'Thurstonianum' has the 'most deformed' flower but we did concur that 'Bill Wallis' is 'weedy' even though it does have its uses in some gardens. It was interesting to have the opportunity to discuss so many plants and their growing habits, (such as how the flowers of G. pratense 'Summer Skies' tend to 'ball' in damp/wet conditions), and to learn that, even though G. pratense is mildew prone, the outer part of a variegated leaf will naturally produce less sugar, making it less susceptible. Bob reliably informed us that 'Black Beauty' seems to be unaffected.
After a successful raffle and sale of donated plants we broke for lunch in the hall. Throughout the morning we had been generously supplied with coffee, tea and cake. Feeling refreshed, we then made our way to Margaret's garden at Callow End.
A burgeoning table of interesting plants occupied many of us as we arrived at the gate, before we found ourselves entering a true plantswoman's garden. The large number of hardy geraniums were a joy to see, especially as they formed part of the overall planting scheme. Despite the prevailing wet, it was a real treat to wander round the meandering pathway, cross over the bridge and simply enjoy such a colourful display of flowers intermingled so cleverly with shrubs and trees. Margaret was on hand to answer many questions and this, together with more tea and cake, made this visit a really enjoyable part of such an interesting study day. .
2015 Geranium Day Report
It was a day of mixed blessings, weather-wise, as the hardy geranium enthusiasts gathered at St. Boniface Hall in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire on 20th June for the Geranium Study Day. Despite a disappointingly low turnout of members those who did attend were full of enthusiasm. There was a very interesting array of plants for sale, which included donations and a lovely selection from Elworthy Cottage Plants. How lucky we were that Jenny and Mike Spiller attended.
Margaret gave a warm welcome to everyone and, following the AGM, Jennifer Harmer and Sue Ward spoke about Geranium People. It was clear from the beginning that Jennifer had done an amazing amount of research resulting in a talk that was interesting and informative, with some excellent slides. The link between the plant and the person who had discovered, bred or introduced it gave extra meaning and was invaluable – not just as a memory link to some old friends and acquaintances but as a talk about the social history of gardening. Jennifer has kindly agreed to pass on her notes so that they can be included in a future publication for everyone’s benefit.
Following a successful plant sale and raffle, members broke for lunch and then made their way to Joan Taylor’s garden at Silverwood House, where Joan had very generously provided sandwiches as well as cake and tea.
This visit was a real treat. The sun came out and the small nursery adjoining the garden was full of rare and tempting treasures which many of us found irresistible! The garden itself was both immaculate and beautiful and a testament to Joan’s hard work and ability as a plantswoman. There were various beds offering different levels and aspects and geraniums mixed happily with perennials, shrubs and her wonderful selection of roses. Joan’s national collection of Geranium nodosum circled the lawn and made an impressive display. Everyone happily wandered round, chatting, admiring, making new discoveries and taking photographs and it was clear that the visit had been thoroughly enjoyable and a huge success.
How can you join?
Subscriptions are renewable on 1st January. The subscription of a member joining after 1st July is valid until the end of the following year.
U.K. members: £5.00 p.a. This covers up to two people at the same address.
Please note that this is in addition to the National HPS subscription.
Overseas members: £7.00 p.a. to be paid with the main HPS subscription unless members have a UK sterling bank account.
Please print and complete this form and send with a cheque, made payable to ‘Hardy Geranium Group’ to:
Oliver Folkard, 1, Baron’s Close, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 8BE.
Please include your name(s), address and e-mail address.
Plant Heritage (NCCPG) National Collections of hardy geraniums are held by:
Gary Bartlett, Riddle Road Allotments, Riddle Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 1LF
Open by appt.
Susan Clarke, Wren's Nest, Wrenbury Heath Road,Wrenbury, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 8EQ
Geranium sylvaticum and renardii
Open by appt. and on June 21st 2017
From Nantwich town centre follow A530 towards Whitchurch. At Sound School on R take 1st R onto Wrenbury Heath Rd.
Jean Purkiss 1 Kelton Croft, Kirkland, Frizington, Cumbria, CA26 3YE.
Geranium phaeum group.
For details of opening times, please see www.nccpg.com/National-Collections/Collection-Results.aspx?id=18
Margaret Stone, Brockamin, Old Hills, Callow End, Worcs. WR2 4TQ.
Geranium x cantabrigiense, macrorrhizum and sanguineum.
Open Days are June 11th and October 1st 2017, 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
½ mile S of village. Pull into Old Hills car-park; walk towards houses, keeping right.
Joan Taylor, Silverwood House, Gardeners Lane, Romsey, Hants. SO51 6AD
Open by appt.
Take A3090 to Romsey. At top of hill take left turn into Gardeners Lane.
Silverwood House is on the left, beyond bend, approx. 1 km