27 February 2012

Geranium Pratense Striatum is Meadow Cranesbill, Mourning Widow, Crowfoot Cranesbill, Bassinets, Loving Andrews, Grace of God, etc.

In searching seed listings for something blue for the part-shade flower beds, I ran across Geranium pratense and ordered seeds of splish splash. They are native from Ireland to Japan and may or may not appreciate our zone 7 summer.

This blue beauty has so many names! Crowfoot Cranesbill, Bassinets, Loving Andrews, Grace of God, Mourning Widow and more. The seed fruit that forms after the flowers fade is shaped like a beak, leading to the common name Cranesbill.

Geranium pratens seedlings
According to the geranium website, Geranium Care, The Grace of God name comes from that clear blue flower color often associated with the Virgin Mary's veil. And, ‘Swearing a blue streak’, means to take God’s name in vain and is a common way of ‘policing up’, a curse word phrase."

In addition to being a pretty, 1.5 foot tall garden plant, the flowers are used as blue dye.

In our garden I hope they live up to their promise of providing nectar for bees.

First Nature in Wales has lovely photos of Meadow Cranesbill in the wild. Most online sources offer seed or bare-root one-year seedlings but one site says they have bulbs for sale. Hmmm. I think not.

The variety I bought is Splish Splash. Some have said that Splish Splash seeds don't always come up looking like the ones in the photo on the right but, rather, show up some blue, some white and none splishy or splashy.

Heronswood says they are perennial in zones 4-8. Take a look at the photos
on this blog, A Garden in Bethlehem PA - another recommendation for its lacy beauty in part shade.

True Geraniums are carefree perennials for use in borders and as a deciduous groundcover. They range in size from 4-inches to 2-feet tall. Can be sown in the fall or spring.

Easy care - Cut back after bloom for a smaller second bloom. Mulch in cold zones. Divide in the spring in zones 4 to 6 and in the fall farther south.

PS March 29 2012 - I'm planting them into the garden now. Can't wait to see them in bloom.
PS April 15 - Every single little plant is surviving so far.

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