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Perennial Focus

Geranium Pink Penny

The essence of a perennial garden is its ever-changing nature. Nevertheless, every landscape designer and gardener is looking for that perennial that will knit the garden together by flowering for a long time. Other perennials will bloom somewhere in the seasonal sequence but a few long bloomers bridge the gaps.

One such perennial that we've all been using for quite a while now is Geranium Rozanne'. It was, in fact, the Perennial Plant of the Year in 2008. I love its blue color but I've often wished for a pink equivalent and now I've found it. I discovered it at a trade show in 2009 and talked the vendor into giving me one. As soon as I returned home, I planted it in a south and west facing bed among several other perennials. Since then, it has bloomed faithfully every year, usually beginning in mid-July and continuing until early November.

The magenta-pink blooms look like slightly cupped saucers with dark veins and dark stamens. Don't let anyone tell you that magenta is hard to use it's not. It blends beautifully with other pinks and purples and provides great contrast with white, yellow, and orange.

If planted in open space, Pink Penny' will only grow twelve to eighteen inches high and wide. In my garden, where it is crowded, it stretches to twenty-four inches high and intertwines with the surrounding Monarda, Echinacea, Iris sibirica, Allium tuberosum, and flowering kale.

Like other hardy geraniums, Pink Penny' is very adaptable to varying soil and light conditions: full sun, half day sun, loamy soil, sandy soil, average moisture or even somewhat dry conditions. During the drought of 2012, it came through with flying colors. I will admit that I watered but when it's very hot and very dry, no amount of watering can compensate for the lack of rain.

It is sad to say, this wonderful geranium is very hard to find in Ohio, but George Pealer of Millcreek Gardens was kind enough to grow it for me. I've already put it into the gardens of two of my clients and will be integrating it into more of my designs. However, George still has some left so please give him a call if you, too, would like to use it.





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