If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed Bill and I went with our friends, Layanee from Ledge and Gardens, Mary Ann from Gardens of the Wild Wild West, and Cindy from My Corner of Katy, along with several new friends to East Anglia, UK. We spent most of our time in Norfolk and Suffolk. I posted loads of photos as we traveled, and I’m just now home and getting back to my garden.
How is my garden doing? Well, we’ve had plenty of rain while I’ve been away–quite the rarity in late June and early July in Oklahoma–but this is a weird weather summer. It is hot and muggy, and the weeds are rampant.
I don’t want to think about weeds today. Instead, like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about those tomorrow. Truthfully though, weeding weighs heavy on my mind, so I’ll probably go out and weed the potager because that’s pretty easy. I’ll save the rest of the garden and pebbled paths for another day.
Before I go weed, I’ll head down the rabbit hole of pelargonium shopping.
I saw so many fabulous pelargoniums–called geraniums by most in the U.S.–and I fell in love with the angel types. Angel pelargoniums are crosses between regal and usually scented geraniums. They often have little pansy-like faces. One of the foremost breeders of these pelargoniums was the late Ken Dymond of Somerset, UK. Most of his hybrids were named Quantock after the hills where he lived. He also named them after family members. In researching these a bit before I bought some, I found a photo of Dymond with Sir Nicholas Bacon OBE. Why does that matter? Because, on our trip, we went to the Raveningham Estate, owned by Sir Nicholas and his wife, Lady Bacon. Layanee and her sister even met him in the garden, and I think Cindy met his wife. Lord Bacon is also currently president of the Royal Horticultural Society. Small world, isn’t it?
If you want to learn more about the types of pelargoniums, Greenwood Garden has a good explanation. Also, on the Gardenangelists podcast, Carol and I devoted part of an episode to the differences between true geraniums and pelargoniums.
I plan to write about Raveningham Hall and several of the other places we went as soon as I can. We saw so many wonderful gardens it’s mind boggling.
In the Beth Chatto garden, which we also visited, there was the most fantastic display of these tender plants. I want to do something just like it in my garden.
Pelargoniums, unlike true geraniums, are tender in our climate, so if you also go down the rabbit hole, you’ll need to overwinter them somewhere. They’re too expensive to let die if you have some of the unusual ones. In September or October, I cut mine back by more than half and put them in my greenhouse watching over them like a mother hen until spring makes her triumphant return. They look wretched until about April, but they all recover in time to be put back outside for their summer vacation.
Below is where I went to buy my pelargoniums and the ones that came home with me, or will once the greenhouses ship them. I’m going to put all of them in terra cotta pots just like the staff at Beth Chatto’s garden did above. I have loads of terra cotta pots. I also already have several scented pelargoniums that will like the new arrangements I’m sure.
This goes against my normal advice to not grow plants in terra cotta in Oklahoma. I don’t always follow my own rules. I think geraniums look splendid in terra cotta, and luckily, they can handle being dry. Since these will be up against the west side of the potager, they will get some shade. If the sun is too intense, I’ll move them to the east side.
Logee’s Greenhouses in Connecticut are near my friend, Layanee’s, house. Although I can’t make a quick trip up to Connecticut, I can order them online and have them shipped. I also bought most of my citrus trees from Logee’s. Here are the pelargoniums I bought.
- ‘Gardener’s Joy,’ a Regal or Martha Washington type of geranium, one of the harder types to grow in Oklahoma. I have another one of this type. I’ve been pretty successful with it. It will need some shade.
- ‘Empress of Russia,’ another Regal or Martha Washington type.
- Scented Geranium ‘Prince Rupert,’ an upright, lemon-scented geranium.
- ‘Old Scarlet Unique,’ is described as “very large, lobed and serrated leaves in pale green. Red flowers with a dark brown center.”
- ‘Roger’s Delight,’ is a lemon-scented geranium with pink and red flowers.
Then, I found the site Geraniaceae.com and got myself in real trouble. They are a small nursery outside of San Francisco, and they have almost every type of geranium/pelargonium I’ve ever seen. I bought eight more pelargoniums there, and then I stopped myself. Not all pelargoniums perform well in Oklahoma’s heat. According to the website, they want to discuss your order with you before they send it. They may tell me some of my selections will not pass muster here, and I’ll take them at their word. Another interesting thing about this site is that they don’t take your credit card online. They send you an invoice with your plants, and you mail them payment or pay with Paypal. Not very many websites do that anymore.
Anway, here’s what I ordered.
- ‘Persian Queen’
- ‘After Dark’
- ‘Angel’s Smile’
- ‘Black Knight’
- ‘Deep Purple’
- ‘Golden Angel’
- ‘Tip Top Duet’ shown above.
So, I need to get that stand built for all these plants. I’ll let you know when I get it done. It is so hard not to buy plants after such an inspirational trip. Later my friends!
You’ve made me love pelargoniums too. I have to finish with my echinacea’s this year though. Maybe next year for the pelargoniums! 🙂
Linda from Each Little World
I love Pelargoniums but don’t have a good way to overwinter them. I bought some true Geraniums from that site in CA a few years ago. What a stunning array of plants. And yes, she is surely the one one trusting us to pay up when we get our plants.
I came back from Denver with a ‘must buy’ list and my Hesperaloe inspiration from Austin arrived last week. So glad you found your UK trip inspirational too xxx
Michelle, I’m laughing because I had to look that plant up! Denver was enchanting too although I can’t grow very much of what they do. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to the U.S. too!~~Dee
Oh, what a wonderful time you had. That’s great. Rows and rows of Pelargoniums…oh, my! 😉
We did have a wonderful time. I’m glad to be back home though. My drip watering system on the containers messed up, and I lost a few plants. Such is life isn’t it? I hope you’re recovered by the Fling too.~~Dee
Christine @ Rustic-Refined.com
Wow they are all so beautiful I would have a hard time choosing just a few! My wallet would be so empty but the garden so happy.
Christine, my wallet is definitely empty. Good thing I already have the containers. Ha!
Lisa at Greenbow
It is so exciting to find a plant that inspires you to such action. They are gorgeous, I can see why you are so enamored. I also can’t wait to see your display. With all of those clay pots right together they will do their job of keeping your pelargoniums looking pretty.
Well, Lisa, I feel a little guilty that I’m copying their ideas exactly, but I did give them credit. I content myself with that.
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening
I’d never heard of Angel pelargoniums before. I’ve tried to grow the Regal ones once or twice. I could keep the plant alive during the summer, but never got any more bloom beyond what it came home with from the greenhouse. I’ll be interested to hear how these do for you. They are gorgeous plants!
Kathy, the regals need cooler nights to rebloom. I’m surprised yours didn’t suffice. I don’t know why I’ve had luck with them. Odd, isn’t it? I also had never heard of angel pelargoniums before either. We’ll see how they do. Since they are a cross between the regals and usually the scented, I think they will like it here. My scented ones definitely do.
I love Geraniaceae! I have bought many plants from her at the San Francisco Flower Show.
Leslie, she already contacted me, and the plants are on their way. Talk about service! I think it’s cool that we have bought from the same nursery.~~Dee
I adore my Pelargonium ‘stage’. They are drought tolerant and very textural. I can’t wait to see the new ones you receive. Such fun traveling with you. I love that we have similar pictures.
Hi Layanee, I love traveling with you too. I’ll let you know when the stage in Oklahoma is set. Hopefully soon since all those plants are coming this way.~~Dee
I wish they sold these varieties locally. They’re gorgeous. Sounds like you had a marvelous and inspiring trip to the UK.
Gail, me too. Like anything else unique, I have to run and find them. Frustrating.~~Dee
Oh my! I’m in love! These are extraordinary! Do the leaves still have that “geranium smell”? My fondest memory of my Mom is she could not pass a pelargonium with out reaching out to gently rub the leaves and then hold her hand to her nose.
Hi Peggy, since many of them are a cross between a regal geranium and a scented one, yes, they do have scent. Your memory of your mom is just precious. I love it. ~~Dee