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Cranesbills for Cover

I plant cranesbill almost everywhere in my garden and have many different varieties...

cranesbill

Photo: FarOutFlora (flickr)

Cranesbill Geranium ‘Roxanne’.

Probably the most well represented plants in my garden are the cranesbill geraniums. These low-growing, weed-smothering ground covers do not look at all like our annual geraniums, as they have small individual blooms. The name cranesbill comes from the shape of their seed head which when turned sideways looks like the bill of a crane.

I plant them almost everywhere in my garden and have many different varieties. I started out with Johnson’s Blue and later got hooked on ‘Rozanne’, which is also blue but blooms almost continually and shrugs off heat.

Then a friend gave me a white variety, and as it took hold, I moved pieces each year to many different parts of the yard. Now when it blooms I am always surprised to see so many splashes of white edging beds, tucked under shrubs, near the roses, weaving between the purple Siberian iris…you get the idea. White makes every other color look crisper, and a white bloomer seems to be every plant’s best dance partner.

In late spring each year my rose-colored Biokovo Karmina blooms with the peonies and is most vigorous. I just pull it up by the roots from the damp spring soil and give it to every visitor to my garden. I love it so much that everyone gets a start whether they want it or not.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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