This year I’m growing ‘Cranesbills’ (Hardy Geraniums) for the first time ever! But this was just an accident as I actually wanted to grow Strawberries!
I hear you say “how can anyone mistake Hardy Geraniums (Cranesbills) for Strawberries?” Well the story goes like this: I invited my brother to have lunch with us one Sunday, back in March I think, as he is as keen of gardening as I am we got to talking about our plants & I mentioned that I had seen young Strawberry plants for sale in a shop in town & I was thing of getting a couple of packs. He then said “Don’t do that, I can get you some free plants from the nursery”. (He works part time at a nursery) The following day he texted me to say he had got 6 plants for me & we agreed where to pick them up from. When I picked them up they seemed strange Strawberry plants to me. At home I took them out of their pots & cleaned away all dead & dying foliage & then planted them in the 2 big black hanging baskets he also gave me a year or two before. Again I thought these are the strangest Strawberry plants I’ve ever seen. But they maybe Alpine Strawberries I thought!
About 2 weeks ago I noticed there were buds forming, once again they seemed the weirdest of flower buds for Strawberries! A few days later the first flower opened & I immediately realised they were ‘Cranesbills’ & not Strawberries! A day or two later I texted my brother to tell him that the “Strawberry plants” he had got for me had the strangest flower I’d ever seen on a Strawberry! I’d never seen pink flowered Strawberries before! He had no answer for that! The following weekend he again came for lunch & I showed him the “Strawberries” with their pink flowers he had given me – he was so surprised he didn’t know what to say only that somebody at the nursery had made a mistake!
I then told him they were "Cranesbill’ or Hardy Geraniums he was speechless! But after looking at the plants more closely for a minute or two he had to admit that they were indeed ‘Cranesbills’ & not Strawberries!
Here’s a photo of the “strawberries” in hanging baskets on the balcony taken on the first day of June 2018:
It looks like I’ll have to wait at least another year before I can pick my own strawberries from the balcony!
The ‘Cranesbills’ (Hardy Geraniums) that I’ve been growing on the balcony for the past few months are feeling the hot, dry weather we have had for the last month. We have been in the middle of a heatwave since about the middle of June & now we are nearly in the middle of July! Just the last 2 days it has been cloudier & cooler with a Northeast wind, other than that most days we have had clear blue skies day after day & temps close to the 30sC, (it’s very unusual for the UK to have such high temps over such a long period), which has resulted in the foliage being burnt to a crisp! Unfortunately I have no other place on the balcony for them.
The photo I’ve include shows just what I mean!
We are now into autumn & these Cranesbill in hanging baskets are looking very much the worse for wear! In a couple of weeks time I think I will remove them from the baskets & plant them in the gardens of Trinity Free Church. At least there they will have better conditions than on the balcony as I will be able to find a place that doesn’t get full sunshine for the greater part of the day like on the balcony.