Don't tell me not to grow buddleja
Plants (and rain) at the largest flower show in the world

Looking at wild geraniums

GeraniumpratenseView600 Talking a walk in the Barnwell Country Park here in Northamptonshire, I came across a broad drift of meadow cranesbill (Geranium pratense). This species has spawned so many fine garden plants, in a range of colours, single and double, that it’s great to see it in its natural habitat. It’s become increasingly common in recent years, Geraniumpratense600 and driving back from the airport, many roadsides boast colourful drifts. Even in relatively poor and dry soil it seems quite prolific, it’s no wonder we started growing it in our gardens its finely divided foliage setting off the flowers beautifully.

Geraniumpratenseforms600 Looking closely, two interesting things are apparent. Firstly, the flowers vary noticeably in the width of their petals; the result is that some flowers reveal gaps between the petals creating much less impact than the flowers whose broader petals overlap. When the petals overlap the result is a richly coloured, rounded flower.

GeraniumpratensePale500 The other thing I noticed is that almost all the plants have flowers in more or less the same colour, a slightly paler flower may turn up – but just occasionally, one plant has flowers in a noticeably different shade. So amongst the hundreds of plants at Barnwell Country Park I came across two with much paler, cool pale lavender blue flowers with darker veins. They were lovely and a natural hint of the range of varieties we now find in gardens.

* As you’ll have gathered, I’m back in Britain for two or three weeks with the horticultural focus being the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – thirty three acres of plants and gardens. More on the show coming here soon.