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.
Ha Ha, Amarylis!
Have just seen this post. There is a superficial similarity between the leaves of strawberries and cranesbills. I’ve often thought this.
If you cut the plants back they should come back next year. They suffer fro heat and sun here, so I plant them as a border under my quercifolia hydrangeas.
They are pretty little plants, known here more a geraniums. Quite confusing to non gardeners!
We’ve had so much rain here after a very dry winter and spring, so everything is looking so green. I hate to think what it will be like in a few months after our predicted hot summer.
Hope all is well with you, not too cold.
Hi JAP, sorry for not replying earlier as I’ve just seen your reply.
A couple of weeks ago I cleaned out all the dead foliage but have left them, for the time being, where they have been growing all summer. They certainly can’t stay in the same place on the balcony next year as, if we were to have a repeat of this year’s summer, they will again be burnt to a crisp!
Seeing how the foliage got so badly burnt I thought to myself they can’t stay here next year as they will need a shadier place. Not very easy to provide on a balcony that looks to the SW (NW for you?) & gets practically all the available sun from 11am till the sun goes down about 10pm in high summer!
I therefore thought I might put them in the church gardens. That will now probably be in the spring.
We still haven’t had the usual totals of rain here so far this autumn but some places in the UK have had a month’s rain in a day – or less! As I said to my wife “If we were to have a month’s rain in a day – we wouldn’t notice much difference!” :D :D :D
I hope your summer isn’t very extreme but it seems that is one of the consequences of climate change. This week we are in for a good ol’ battering from a storm named as “Diane” by the Portuguese weather forecasters. For the next couple of days our current temps will double but we will have to contend with gale force winds! Once it has passed the UK we will see lots more very unsettled weather for a time. That will be a relief from the high pressure that has sat nearby for the last week or so & has kept a “lid” of cloud over our heads for much of the time with quite cold winds coming from the East.