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Cornucopia - Spring cleaning the borders

Spring cleaning the borders
Tricia Fraser

Well, I’ve finally done it and I feel all the better for it. Geranium x oxonianum 'Claridge Druce' has finally been dug up and confined to the compost heap. Yes, I know I’m a geranium fanatic but you can have too much of a good thing and in my opinion G. 'Claridge Druce' isn’t a particularly good geranium, apart from its flowers. For me, its faults outweigh its merits. For a start the foliage is such a boring colour - a dull grey-green, which compared to many hardy geraniums is hardly exciting. There are many other oxonianum hybrids with better leaves. If you need the ground covering potential of these plants then try G. x oxonianum 'Walter’s Gift' which has lovely brown markings on the leaves. Alternatively G. 'Winscombe' has the much more attractive fresh green leaves with pale pink flowers fading darker as they age. Just about any other oxonianum beats 'Claridge Druce' for leaf colour!

Secondly there’s the propensity of most oxonianum hybrids to self-seed everywhere. 'Claridge Druce' seems the worst of all, or perhaps it’s just because with such dull leaves, you don’t notice the seedlings until they become quite large and are then harder to remove. I’m sure I’ll be finding plenty more seedlings for a long time to come - so I’m scouring the catalogues. We plantaholics always like to try out something new.

This spring cleaning urge has definitely taken hold. One of my G. x oxonianum 'Thurstonianum' plants has also just been added to the compost bin! With its demise another planting opportunity appears so it’s time to get the catalogues out again, or try browsing the RHS online Plant Finder.

First published in the South Pennine Group Newsletter, Summer 2005
and subsequently in Cornucopia Issue 23
© Copyright for this article: Tricia Fraser

This article was taken from a copy of Cornucopia that was published in 2009. You could be reading these articles as they are published to a national audience, by subscribing to Cornucopia.


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