Monday, March 26, 2012

Geraniums- Just a Pretty Face?

Patty Bretin's son plays hockey. Last summer they went to Prague in the Czech Republic where Patty saw so many Sophia Geraniums she finally got all the other mom's on the bus pointing them out and taking pictures. Not such an unusual event except hardly any hockey moms I know can identify a geranium from a bus let alone in a shop aisle. Patty is owner of Bretin's Flower Farm so she isn't just any mom. Apparently her passion for Sophia was so enriched by her bus tour she is upping the ante and growing more Sophias- a soft open light pink bloomer- than before. She thinks it has a real role to play in prairie gardens where we crave the colours of summer in March more than Robins crave worms.

When I am speaking later this spring at the Proven Winner's special event in Edmonton I will not be speaking about winning plants or about geraniums. In fact my talk has nothing to do with the company that is generously sponsoring me. I will be speaking about vegetables and all the unusual things I can think to mention about them. Like how you can grow your radish and eat the flowers too. How dahlias were once grown for their edible roots, and how potatoes were once considered a pretty flowering plant. How you might ask does this have anything to do with Geraniums?

Well nothing at all- Geraniums are just pretty. They are just something we like to grow and one passionate gardener - Judith Doyle - sent me some happy summer pictures of her geranium favourites and not a single picture of Sophia was among them. Like Sophia, many of the geraniums Judith grows are considered "Alpine Geraniums", a semi-trailing type of plant ideal for hanging baskets and well suited to Calgary and other prairie settings.

Alpine geraniums are not really from the alpine, vegetables are not always non-flowering and gardeners do not have to stick to one "category" in their gardens. In fact they usually don't - they might grow alpines or geraniums or carrots. They might have sons who play hockey, be retired or run their own oil and gas company. Gardens and gardeners are a diverse lot. And at least a few of them can identify a geranium off a third floor balcony.

Thanks to Judith for sending me her photos favourite geraniums: photo below includes L-R 'Mrs Pollock'; 'Platinum'; 'Vancouver Centennial'. Photo above is mini-cascade pink alpine geranium.

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