This week’s floral photos are geraniums – or the correct name pelargonium. Most of these photos were taken at my parents house. Yet the strongest memories I have of them are the window boxes in Austria. I lived there for 11 years. And every spring there would be a stampede to the local garden stores for potting soil and geraniums to plant their little bit of garden in their houses. Where we lived there was a communal garden and it was compulsory to have window boxes. There was quite a competition among the households to have the best show. Me, they were lucky I even had window boxes, let alone a great show. I don’t have green thumbs or any green pinkies at all.
I have just gone through some of my photos and to my surprise I really didn’t have any photos of the traditional houses with their window boxes. I think because it was so common place I didn’t think I needed to take any photos. Here are the only two I found, in colour at least.
Sorry about the quality of these last two photos but they are photos of photos, so a lot of dust. It is also hard to edit photos of photos.
So info from Wikipedia about these plants – I find the smell quite distinctive.
Pelargonium /ˌpɛlɑrˈɡoʊniəm/ is a genus of flowering plants which includes about 200 species of perennials, succulents, and shrubs, commonly known as geraniums (in the United States also storksbills). Confusingly, Geranium is the correct botanical name of a separate genus of related plants often called cranesbills or hardy geraniums. Both genera belong to the family Geraniaceae. The confusion stems from Linnaeus originally including all the species in one genus, Geranium, but their later being separated into two genera by Charles L’Héritier in 1789.
Pelargonium species are evergreen perennials indigenous to Southern Africa, and are drought and heat tolerant, but can tolerate only minor frosts. Some species are extremely popular garden plants, grown as bedding plants in temperate regions.
The first species of Pelargonium known to be cultivated was P. triste, a native of South Africa. It was probably brought to the Botanical Garden in Leiden before 1600 on ships which stopped at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1631, the English gardener John Tradescant the elder bought seeds from Rene Morin in Paris and introduced the plant to England. The name Pelargonium was introduced by Johannes Burman in 1738, from the Greek πελαργός, pelargós (stork), because the seed head looks like a stork’s beak. Carl Linnaeusoriginally grouped together in the same genus (Geranium) the three similar genera Erodium, Geranium, and Pelargonium. The distinction between them was made by Charles Louis L’Héritier de Brutelle based on the number of stamens or anthers, seven in the case of Pelargonium.
The chemist, John Dalton, first realized that he was color blind in 1794 when he heard others describe the color of the flowers of the pink (Pelargonium zonale), as pink or red, when to him it looked either pink or blue, having no relationship to red at all.
Their main requirement is a warm, sunny, sheltered location. Many varieties will tolerate drought conditions for short periods. They are commonly seen in bedding schemes in parks and gardens, but can also be grown indoors as houseplants if given enough light. More compact erect and trailing varieties are ideal for window boxes and hanging baskets, in association with other half-hardy plants like lobelias, petunias and begonias. Thousands of pelargonium cultivars are available from garden centres or specialist suppliers during the spring and summer months. They are regular participants in flower shows and competitive events, with numerous societies devoted exclusively to their cultivation. They are easy to propagate vegetatively from cuttings.
There you go, now we know why we had to have window boxes with these plants, and we had petunias too.
Thanks for visiting.