oor geraniums. Bland ranks of them grow dutifully and dully in institutional settings, and are pressed into service in tired garden schemes, and exiled out onto the porch stairs, where they are forgotten, not quite dead, but not quite living, either. Poor geraniums!
I’m a contrarian, however. I love geraniums and think they are wonderful! So let’s reframe this dolorous picture. You are staying at a charming little inn in Provence. The inn is festive with geraniums overflowing in window boxes and pots. The geraniums look healthy and loved. This brings us to something that many forget about geraniums, which is that while they can survive with minimal care, they can be spectacular when given regular watering and fertilizer. But we’re talking reasonable effort here, not the slavish, unnatural devotion required by some so-called “premium annuals.”
So, if you find yourself being run ragged during August heat waves watering persnickety annuals three times a day, remember poor old geraniums. They may suddenly look good to you! If you are tired of the fire engine red variety, remember that they come in luscious fuchsias, scarlets, pale pinks, and cool whites. I will admit upfront that I even like neon pink geraniums, because they light up my house’s dark green and burgundy color scheme. My latest favorite geranium is “Doris Holmes,” an ivy leaf variety with flowers like little roses. And then there are fancy-leaved geraniums, and the scented varieties, which revel in blast-furnace heat. I love growing my nutmeg geranium cascading over the edge of a window box, mingling with marigolds and rosemary. Original? No, but pretty, heat-tolerant, and un-stressful for me, the gardener. And if I go on vacation for a week or so, they will soldier on without complaint. Heat waves? No problem. Love those geraniums!