Hardy Geraniums as a group are mainly herbaceous perennials, not be confused with Pelargoniums (also often called Geraniums,) which are non-hardy and usually feature as summer bedding.
This group of Geraniums, whose common name is Cranesbill, are fully hardy to H7 which means they will withstand our winters and return reliably in the spring. Some varieties are herbaceous, some evergreen and all are an attractive, useful border plant which is unfussy about it's growing conditions, and mixes well with other plants, especially good with roses. As an added bonus Geraniums are loved by both bees and butterflies.
Geraniums will grow in sun or partial/light shade which is why they are included in shade tolerate plants. Growing Geraniums is easy, and they are classified as "green wheelbarrow", making them among the easiest of plants to grow. Geranium flowers come in colours of blue, purple, pink and white, often with attractive markings inside the flowers, as in the images below.
Geraniums varying significantly in size from Geranium pratense, the meadow cranesbill, which grows to around 1 meter, to small compact low growing varieties such Geranium sanguineum which is around 30 cms.
Many Geraniums flower in a strong blue and purple, which makes Geraniums are particularly attractive to bees and make a good contrast against the lime green of Alchemilla mollis, as shown in the image below. Alchemilla mollis is another easy to grow plant, although prone to self seeding. If you are interested in seeing just how attractive bees are to blue Geraniums, take time out to view a short video taken on a lovely warm summers day. If nothing else, a relaxing few minutes with the sounds of summer. In this setting, Geraniums and Chives are planted together to create a bee heaven.
Geraniums feature in many gardens because they are easy to grow and mix so well with other plants. In the image below the Geranium is teamed up with a Candelabra primula and bright red Geum.
Geraniums also look good growing around Alliums and will serve to cover their base leaves which can look tatty, even early in the season. Some Geraniums are long flowering and will flower right from June to frosts. This type of Geranium will come back year after year, although the herbaceous varieties will disappear over winter and re grow in the spring.
If Geraniums are not the garden plant for you, for more ideas check out summer flowering plants spring flowering plants scented plants and climbing plants
for more inspiring ideas.