The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 14 Groupings of plants in pots

Geraniums in pots

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If the place were in the sun the plants chosen would be largely Geraniums; two-year-old plants in good-sized pots; and, in place of the Ferns that enjoy shade and the Funkias whose leaves often burn in the sun, there would be the large-leaved Megasea {Bergenia} cordifolia. Here also would be Lilies, Hydrangeas and Cannas, and good store of the graceful Maiden�s Wreath {Francoa sonchifolia} (Francoa ramosa). The Geraniums would be very carefully assorted for colour; in one part of the scheme white and soft pink, in another the rosy scarlets, and elsewhere the salmon-reds, now so numerous and good. The last two groups might by degrees tone into the pure scarlets, of which the best I know and the most delightful in colour is Paul Crampel. The colour is pure and brilliant but not cruel. I can think of no other word that so well describes some scarlets of a harsh quality that gives discomfort rather than satisfaction to a sensitive colour-eye. Henry Jacoby is to me one of the cruel reds and has no place among my flowers. I have no desire to disparage a plant which is so general a favourite, but feel sure that its popularity is a good deal owing to the fact that the main gardening public is inclined rather to accept what is put before it than to take the trouble to search for something better. Although the colour of this Geranium is extremely vivid, a whole bed of it has a heavy appearance and is wanting in pictorial effect. I have great pleasure in putting together Omphale, palest salmon-pink; Mrs. Laurence, a shade deeper; Mrs. Cannell, a salmon-scarlet approaching the quality of colour of Phlox Coquelicot, and leading these by degrees to the pure, good scarlet of Paul Crampel. A bed or clump or border planted with these, or varieties equivalent in colour, would be seen to have, in comparison with a bed of Henry Jacoby, a quite remarkable degree of life, brilliancy, beauty and interest. The colouring would be actually brighter and yet more kind and acceptable to the eye. Had I more strength I should visit the nurseries in order to see all the excellent Geraniums that are now grown, and to group them into colour-combinations such as could be confidently recommended. As it is, I have to depend upon the courtesy of my friends in the horticultural trade, when I have occasion to make such combinations, for sending me blooms that I can choose from.