Saturday, November 30, 2019


Most of the Geraniums featured here in this article are herbaceous perennials except for Geranium maderense which is a biennial but usually sets plenty of seed, to keep the plant in your garden. Most of the Geraniums will need to be grown from seed, but division of the crowns of geraniums is also a good way to spread Geraniums around your garden, and some can be grown by cuttings. A lovely Geranium not readily available is Geranium argenteum with its compact silver clumps of leaves and 2-5cm of pale pink flowers. It used to be in Australia growing in the Maxwells garden and Lew an ex member of the AGSVG grew it beautifully in gravel, in Ringwood, Victoria. Another rare and choice Geranium to look out for is Geranium farreri.

Geranium x hybrid Ruby Trinkets from Antique Perennials a few years ago. I just love its name. Flowers over a long period, most of summer.

Geranium traversii variety, from Chatham Islands, you will get all kinds of hybrids in your gravel paths, if this plant is grown next to gravel. Flowers may be larger with silver foliage the true Geranium traversii, or the hybrids with dark burgundy foliage and smaller pink flowers as above.

Geranium sanguineum with Globularia flowering in the back ground, this Geranium also seeds around gently in my garden, with a slight variation in colour.

Geranium sanguineum variety Striatum Pink, if I have a favourite I think this would be it. Large soft pink flowers also self sows true, but it also seeds some purple flowers, I have not had any white forms yet. From most of Europe, Turkey, and the Caucasus. An open sunny position in the garden. 

Geranium Sanguineum Max Frei above and below, photo in Marg S. garden grown in a terra cotta pot.

Geranium  sanguineum? photographed in Mullers Valley Spain.

Geranium cinereum Ballerina from Ken Gillanders quite some time ago, grown in a trough, because it tends to get swamped by other plants in the Rock Garden. Not full sun for this little beauty. David Glen at Lambly was selling this a year ago, he may still have some left for sale.

Geranium cinereum  Lawrence Flatman below a hybrid occasionally available. very similar growth to  Geranium cinereum Ballerina ( photo internet)

Geranium dalmaticum grown in a hypertufa trough. It flowers better for me like this and doesn't just spread. Helen will have some struck cutting from this plant at the Bun Fight. I wish we still had the white form of G. dalmaticum Otto imported years ago, it sounded delightful but I think quite rare.
South western Yugoslavia and Albania.

Geranium  aristartum  it has larger, pale lilac flowers than G. phaeum with a prolonged bristle-like tip. Found in the mountains of Macedonia, Albana and Greece. Lynn Mc Gough's, Rare Plants photo.

Geranium libani from Archibald seed, above, my flowering plant is a much paler form than the one Oron Peri sells from seeds of Peace. It also lacks the veining that Jons form has below. From Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey from Fir forests and Quercus coccifera scrub, it needs a well drained, sunny, warm position in the garden.

Photo's curtisey Jon thank you.

Geranium renardii Philippe Vapelle sunny position

Geranium wallichianum 'Azure Rush' from mail order Woodbridge Nursery Tasmania. Needs a shaded position. A beautiful geranium always attracts attention when in flower. From Afghanistan, Kashmir and Bhutan in open forest scrub and open slopes. Kashmir seems to have some beautiful plants.

Geranium incanum from my old work place at Devon Tubestock Nursery.

Geranium clarkei Kashmir White from Gentiana Nursery. another good geranium. Flowers sit above the foliage spreads a little but not too vigorous and does not take over. Still looking for Kashmir purple used to grow it, but can't seem to find a replacement.

Geranium psilostemon needs a little shade from hot afternoon sun.

Geranium Rozanne just opening. Cool position with some sun shine during the day. A PBR plant.

Geranium pratense Criss Canning found by David Glen and named after his wife. (not photo shopped) this is the true colour.

Geranium transversale seed from Halda CZ.

Geranium  x Magnificum quite large flowers.  

Geranium white? in a trough Blackthorne Nursery UK, I know there is one Geranium next to it, but is it a Geranium or a Potentilla?

Geranium maderense photo's curtesy Colin in NSW growing to Perfection. Above and below.

Geranium maderense white form, seed from Marg Taras. 

Geranium harveyi supposed to be silver foliaged but covered in dust at the moment, we had a large dust storm from inland Australia where it is hot and dry and they have had very little rain for years. Your heart goes out to them with bush fires and no rain, it is such a struggle. They don't want our pity, they just want us to listen and help where necessary.

Geranium cantabrigense Westray 

Geranium Ann Folkard with lime foliage and deep purple magenta flowers.

Sometime you can pick up these secondhand booklet or papers on Geraniums by Walter E. Th. Inwersen 1 booklet, others I purchased at the same time were Aquilegia 3 booklets, The Genus Phlox 2 booklets, The Genus Cystsus 1 booklet, using Abe books. The Geranium booklet must have been written after a war no dates, as Walter Ingwersen states he hopes "when the world settles down again many travellers will go collecting seed of these beauties in the mountains of Mexico and those of Central America and the vast sweep of the Andes from the Equator down to the Straits of Magellan that need searching with a fine comb". None the less Walter Ingwersen lists 100 Geraniums for sale just after the war, which is more than we can boast in Australia, woodbridge Nursery has quite a list a good list of geraniums but not all are available.

14th December is our Bunfight date starting at 2.00pm on the dot, don't be late you need to peruse the benches to see what is available and stand in front of what you want as your first choice, first to get the plant wins. We will be having an afternoon tea afterward and you can have a chat with new and old friends. I love the Bunfight as it means the end of another successful year, as a group of like minded people. Meeting will be held at 79 -81 Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda. Victoria. 

Wishing you all a Merry, Safe and Happy Christmas from all at the Alpine Garden Society Victorian Group.

Monday, November 18, 2019


A large genus of annuals, perennials and sub-shrubs, there is quite a difference in their leaf shapes, but the flower shape we are very familiar with and recognise very quickly. We all have our favourites, some are more difficult to grow than others. The Viola's preferring a lime stone rock position, I think would grow very well in troughs made from cement, providing a cooler root run with leached limestone from the cement. I hope people will give Viola seed a go this year, as the seed exchanges will be out in approximately a months time.

Viola cazorlensis photographed in Cazorla Spain growing in limestone soil, very similar to Viola delphinantha, the largest difference is a small dark purplish dot on the lower lip of V. cazorlensis. The two Viola's below are Viola delphinantha from Greece and Bulgaria also found growing in lime stone rock. The one growing in a pot was photographed at Blackthorn Nursery, the last one being grown in hypertufa in Peter Erskin's garden both gardens are in the UK. They are reported as being difficult to grow but they both come from a hot climate and I think if we could get fresh seed we could grow them in Australia.

Labeled as Viola del x Caz in Blackthorn Nursery.

Viola crassa borealis from AGS seed January 2018. Leaves a little chewed by snails and slugs, but it has survived the wet winter in the crevice garden, very well. It comes from Japan.

Viola biflora photographed in Vall de Nuria Spain, very similar as above. 

Viola douglasii from Archibald seed no longer with me but beautiful none the less. An American species from Oregon to California, bipinnate leaves and strong dark brown markings on the bottom petals of the flowers.

Viola odorata above and below comes in all colours Pink, White, Apricot, Purple, Mauve and Purplish blue, a large ground cover for a moist position. As their name suggests perfumed flowers.

Viola stojanowii AGS seed, for sale from Allan at the plant sale, Oron Peri talk. A lovely little viola with strong markings on the lower lip. Found growing in Greece and Bulgaria in subalpine grassland doing very well for me in a well drained part of the crevice garden.

Viola betonicifolia subspecies betonicifolia photographed in Kosciuszko National Park, but not all the flowers were as lovely as this form, some were very wishy washy in colour. We have also photographed this in Falls Creek and Hotham, it is a very wide spread Viola, and sets copious amounts of seed. Found growing in moist grassy slopes.

Viola congesta growing not in the main Wisley Glass House but one we were allowed in as visitors out the back, a great privilege. Now called Viola volcanica, similar to Viola rosulata in habit and foliage. From Chile and Argentina the southern central cordilleras to the volcano region of Patagonia, mainly in warm sites in loose volcanic sand or pumice rubble. 

Viola pedata hybrid in Wisley Glass house a gorgeous Viola and one to try and raise from seed.

Viola pedata bicolor at the AGS conference 2011

Viola pedata also at the AGS conference 2011 fairly easy from seed in Australia and a very lovely species. Found growing in North America from Canada to Missouri and Arizona in woodland clearings and prairies.

A lovely Viola in Ashwood Nursery Gardens without a label I'm afraid. 

Viola jooi from Rumania amongst lime stone rocks, often listed by Lynn's rare plants for sale. Also easy from seed and grows well in our garden here in the Dandenongs.

Viola seedling looks very similar to Viola jooi, on the Tan track, below Ferny Creek Hort. Soc. an escapee from the Gardens perhaps.

Viola bubanii photographed in Puerto, Spain on the side of a rock cliff in grass, I was so excited to find this beautiful Viola growing in the out crop of rock.

Viola cornuta often listed on seed lists and fairly easy to grow, found growing in Mulleres Valley, Spain. 

Viola crassiuscula photographed in Sierra Nevada, Spain. How they survive the goat herds and insects I don't know. The photo below, I was just getting my camera out to take a photo of the best flower that had not been chewed and along came this big insect and promptly began to eat the flower. 

Viola pyrenaica, a tufted clump forming perennial in Spain. 

Viola gracilis n'Hug Spain, in Alpine grass land and amongst rocks. Just as I was photographing, suddenly lightning and a loud clap of thunder and it started to pour with rain, a mad dash to the car. This Viola was surrounded by Androsace villosa, which I did not expect to see at all. This is just a smattering of the Viola's that are available. Reference material as always I use my Alpine Garden Soc. Encyclopaedia of Alpines. 

Our next meeting is on The Outer Hebrides by Cynthia on 23rd November at 8.00pm at the Olinda Community Hall Olinda, next to the Olinda swimming pool, 79 -81 Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda. I will look forward to seeing you there, why not come along and see if you would like to join our group of plant and bulb enthusiasts.