Pelargniums at My Front Door
Pelargonium 'Mrs. Kingsley'
Pelargoium 'Scarlet Unique'
For most people geraniums are those red or pink, double flowered pot plants that bought in great quantities to "brighten" balconies, terraces and patios. They really are the most dreadful looking things and when I see them at retail outlets, I can't help wonder who is producing them and why people keep buying them. The point is that the enormous Pelargonium family has hundreds of spectacular species, hybrids and cultivars to choose from and yet there is very little availability in most nurseries and garden centres.
Luckily for me I live close to Richters Herbs which has a lengthy list of "Scented Geraniums", many of these are species or early hybrids. From these I look for a group called "The Uniques" which are mentioned in nursery catalogues dating back to the early nineteenth century and were popular with Victorian gardeners.
On a chilly day in late February I went out to Richters with a group of friends, to raise our spirits and to choose some tender plants for our summer containers. I chose four Uniques, P. "Clorinda' which has rose-pink flowers and cedar scented foliage, P. 'Apricot' with fruity scented foliage and many synonyms such as 'M. Ninon', 'Monsieur Ninon', 'Madame Ninon' and 'Nonin ( that must surely be a typo??). The other two were 'Mrs.Kingsley' and 'Scarlet Unique' and they are all grown along with P. 'Charity' with lovely gold variegation.