Tag Archives: geranium ‘brookside’

Blooms, Blooms, Blooms (And no more peony talk)

Just to prove that I am not completely fixated on my peonies (that didn’t sound right), here are some other blooms in and about my garden during this fantastic time of year.
Veronica just about on its last legs but hoping the periodic deadheading will extend it a bit further: 

Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’ just started blooming and looks OK; I still value it mostly for the foliage:

Geranium ‘Brookside’ which I’ve been rather critical of in the past, looks good now that it is allowed to roam wild a bit:

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ doesn’t blow you away in bloom, but it is reliable and performs so well in my native bed where it is consistently moist/wet:

I know I am going to enjoy Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ for years to come as six of these were planted just last fall as tiny plugs and they already look fantastic. Not to mention they are ignored by the deer and the rabbits and survived wet feet this past winter:

Blooms nice, the rest … not so much. I am losing it for Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’ so they better shape up soon or they are gone:

Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ just about to bloom in full; give it about a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10:

First blooms on Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’:

Spirea ‘Snow Storm’ … hmmmm … takes up space … blooms are “decent” … suppresses weeds since better than bare ground … guess she can stay:

Geranium Brookside – an ongoing saga

A little over two years ago I vowed, on this blog, to get rid of all my Geranium Brookside.

At that point, they had resided in my garden for a few years and I wasn’t the least bit impressed. Even in full bloom, they looked messy and out of control; and not in a cottage garden like good way.

Needless to say, I didn’t have the cajones to ditch them. Instead, I followed my mantra of “If at first they don’t succeed, just move ’em somewhere else”. And two years later, I’m glad I didn’t heave them on to the compost pile. I’m still not necessarily sold on them, but let’s say they are trending in a more positive light.

I was further inspired to keep the faith last year, when I read the results from the Fine Gardening geranium trials at the Chicago Botanic Garden. They received a 4 star rating with outstanding flower production. OK, maybe I need to stay patient and let this all play out.

So let’s look back on last year.

I really like how Geranium Brookside looks in its early stages in mid spring. Nice compact foliage:

And here they are in full bloom:

Geranium Brookside

 

Not too bad, especially now that they are in a location where they can spread their wings a bit and spill over on to other plants. A much better fit.

I even noticed more bee traffic in this new locale:

They still look a bit ragged when their initial bloom is complete:

So cutting back hard after that bloom period is an absolute must. And to their credit, they bounce back nicely in only a few weeks:

And fit in quietly amongst all the other perennials, shrubs and grasses:

I will tell you, contrary to what I’ve read online, I have never witnessed any reblooming after the heavy shearing. But I am also holding out hope that this will happen one of these years.

The fall color on Geranium Brookside is pretty solid, but does vary quite a bit year to year. Here is how they looked last year:

And soon after, they fell apart, but that’s OK, we’ve all moved on by that point:

And there you have it. Decent but not overwhelmingly eye catching.

I will leave them in their current location again this year and monitor the results … because that is how this guy rolls.

Before I go, here are some quick bits of info on Geranium Brookside:

  • The bloom color is best described as lavender and the blooms have a white “eye”
  • For me, the blooming begins in late spring and in fact, these were in full bloom for me on May 30th last year (thanks trusty spreadsheet).
  • Work in both full sun and part shade
  • To date, these geraniums have been both deer and rabbit resistant and that cannot be underestimated.
  • The mature size is about 2′ x 2′
  • Survives in zones 4-8

Anyone else have experiences they are willing to share on this plant?

Do tell.

John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Prune in June” – Cleaning up – UPDATE

During the last week of June, I severely cut back three groups of perennials as a means to “clean them up”, as all three had bloomed their asses off and were now looking tired and spent. 
I knew they would bounce back rather quickly with nice clean foliage and some new blooms and I’m here today to show you that they came through with flying colors.
#1 – Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’:
After the the big cut back:      
And how they looked about two weeks later:

And five weeks later … :

… with some periodic re-bloom to boot:

#2 – Geranium ‘Brookside’:

The day of their haircut:

And as of this evening:

#3 – Nepeta (Catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’:

Sheared back:

And now sporting cleaner foliage and some blooms (not to mention the bees are back in droves):

While cutting back your perennials seems like a frightening proposition at first, I would actually be more frightened to leave them untouched. Trust me, it gets ugly.

If you chop them back (assuming you did your research and you know which ones are “choppable”), in two to three weeks time they will look better than they did right before they were snipped.

Remember, “Just prune it”.

John

“Prune in June” – Cleaning up

It might be July, but you’ll have to trust me that I accomplished the following tasks while it was still June.
So no deep pruning discussions today, just some simple cutting back to clean up some spent blooms/foliage with the hope that the foliage will bounce back all nice and neat and maybe a second set of blooms in late summer.
First off, Nepeta (Catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’. Here at its peak:   

And then looking a little spent:

So, whack, all have been cut back:

More to come in a future post to show you how well they have bounced back:

On to Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’. Looking good and healthy in the spring:

In bloom and still holding up:

Out come the shears and they’ve been cut to the ground. Didn’t take long to see immediate foliage regrowth:

Finally, Geranium ‘Brookside’ looking good a few weeks ago:

And then looking severely spent today:

Thwack! Now we wait for the inevitable nice foliage mound to come back:

As with previous “Prune in June” posts, I’ll post additional photos as these perennials reinvent themselves over the next few weeks.

Cheers!

John

“What’s growing on” this week

The Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ are in full bloom out of nowhere:

As are the Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle):

One of my favorite “foliage” plants has only recently emerged – Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’:

There was total chaos outside my window yesterday and I bolted outside to check it out (camera in hand). Turns out, it was over these berries on the Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’:

And the culprit was this maniac shaking the branches like The Hulk:

It may be boring to some, but I love any shrub that flourishes in wet conditions, is ignored by the deer and spreads to fill in a large space. Thank you Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’:

I relocated my previously criticized Geranium ‘Brookside’ to an area where they can run wild a bit more and have some support from other plants and so far, I dig the results:

Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ is filled with more buds than ever before and once again, has avoided any deer chomping (fingers double crossed):

Catmint friggin rules:

Astilbe with white blooms look great in front of dark red leaves. We may have finally found the proper home for them:

Plant evaluation – Geranium ‘Brookside’

This is “review” time of year for many of us at our place of employment and it can be a stressful time. All the work and effort from the past year is summed up in one nice standard form, chock full of all the key “buzz words”. In fact, many of us are required to write our own self evaluations and that can be quite the daunting task. We are reminded of projects we worked on and struggled with and it unearths memories we had hoped to leave behind.    

In order to help alleviate this stress, I decided I would do something that would immediately make me feel better … I’ll take it out on someone/something else.

And that’s right, I’m talking to you my weaker performing plants!

You may think you are safe because you were left in the ground to overwinter, but I am warning you now, I am on to you. I’ve been carefully detailing your work in the spring, summer and fall and I cannot afford for some of you to bring our organization (I mean garden) down. You may think you are just one or two little plants of insignificance, but you are all part of the greater “whole”. I value your contribution as much as the larger shrubs and trees (wink wink) and if you work hard enough, you may just get featured as a specimen in one of the more prominent containers on my back deck. How’s that for a lofty 2011 objective?               

I will be evaluating these lesser performing plants over the next few weeks as I prepare for the spring and there are some tough decisions to be made.

For today’s evaluation, we are looking at Geranium ‘Brookside’.

I’ve had these for about four years now and the phrase that continues to come to mind is “Does not meet expectations”. I had such high hopes for this super blooming perennial, based on my initial research and from viewing their images online, yet I find they continue to disappoint.       

Here is a photo of one in full bloom in early June:        

And a close-up of one of the individual flowers:

To me, the individual flowers rock, but when taken as a whole, it doesn’t do too much for me. Maybe if I took the time to deadhead and remove the spent flowers it would be more impressive, but that is too much of an effort considering all that is going on in the late spring.

Yes, I appreciate that they have proven to be deer resistant and can handle the clay and often wet conditions, but I need more. When in bloom, it looks completely chaotic but not in a good way. They easily outgrow their supposed size and creep where I don’t want them to creep (but that is an issue for HR).     

In fact, I enjoy these more after the blooms have been completely sheared back and the new foliage has grown in. See the photo below:

My design style leans more foliage based then flower based so I truly appreciate the more unique leave shape a geranium offers as it contrasts perfectly with other perennials. Maybe the foliage is all they have to offer and I should just accept that. After all, we can’t all be top performers right?      

While it is fleeting, this geranium also offers some nice autumn color as it heads towards dormancy:

In summary, I will give these an additional year to impress me as I blame myself for their mediocre performance since they have been moved three times in four years. As their manager, I have to accept my part in their performance.

Ciao 

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