Here’s a copy of my gardening column from the July issue of Eastlife Magazine, which is a fabulous magazine all about ‘Living life in the East’.  The full version of the magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.couk

IMG_7813Is it just me, or is this year flying by?  It seems almost impossible that we are now in the height of summer when it seems like only 5 minutes ago we were dealing with the Beast from the East.

Gardens across the country are now bursting with colour and dense foliage.  It is a joy to see the variety of design styles and planting themes as you pass front gardens on your day-to-day business, with quite a few offering the chance to see even more during various garden open days held throughout the summer.

I’m a great lover of perennial planting schemes with a particular favourite being hardy geraniums.  The smaller varieties, such as Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ make a wonderful ground cover with striking magenta flowers against greenish gold foliage.   Or perhaps the more delicate Geranium ‘Dilys’ to provide ground cover with its substantial spread and long flowering period from July through to the first hard frost.

Possibly one of the most famous and instantly recognisable Geranium is Geranium Rozanne.  The striking violet-blue flowers with purple veins and a white centre become real show stoppers when highlighted by the fresh green foliage.  This is a large plant which needs plenty of space so is best suited to containers or underplanting.  Consider planting some purple alliums to grow up through the foliage acting as a tall companion plant to complement your Rozanne.

If your hardy geraniums are starting to look a little tired towards the end of the summer, be brave and remove all foliage and flowers to ground level.  The geranium will burst back into life and may well reward you with another flush of flowers.

In recent years, rising costs have seen plant prices shoot up at an astonishing rate.  Get the most from your hardy geranium collection by lifting and splitting each spring.  Just before we moved less than 2 years ago, I potted up a root cutting of my all time favourite; Geranium himalayense ‘Plenum’ with its beautiful purple-pink double petalled flowers.  Earlier this year I was able to split this into 5 separate plants, which are now flowering profusely in one of the borders.

The latest copy of EastLife magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.co.uk

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