Geranium – Cranesbill, Herb Robert
The plants, usually called Geraniums, are really Pelargoniums and do not come within the scope of this book. The true Geraniums are hardy perennials growing 12 inches to 18 inches tall. They range in color from lilac to rosy-purple. The most commonly cultivated species, Geranium sanguineum, has purple-crimson flowers producing a profusion of flowers through the Summer. A white variety is frequently listed. Two wild sorts are worthy of places in the wild garden or moist rockery, namely: G. Robertianum, the Herb Robert, which has tiny magenta flowers and deeply cleft leaves. The plants are encountered frequently in very moist, rocky woods. They are easily distinguished by their peculiar odor. This is a biennial sort but will self-sow itself year after year. G. maculatum, the Spotted Cranesbill, is far the commoner wild sort. The flowers vary from light to dark magenta. Both of these species are very hairy.
UTILIZE. The smaller plants are excellent for pot culture or to use as edgings for borders. Many are grown in rockeries, in which situations Herb Robert and the spotted Cranesbill are especially attractive. Sometimes the flowers are cut and used in small basket or vase decorations.
GENERAL. Geraniums do nicely in moist places. The wild sorts will not stand the hot sun. Any good garden soil will do. They thrive best transplanted in the Spring.
PROPAGATION. They are propagated by sowing the seed during the latter part of Summer and are usually wintered in coldframes.