Because June is Perennial Gardening Month, this month’s You Can Grow That plant on my web site is Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’ A hardy geranium, Biokovo has thrived in my Northern Virginia garden for 10 years. In April and May, the small, white/pink flowers, reminiscent of apple flowers, appear but what gives them away as hardy geraniums are the unusually long, pink stamens. Eventually, these flowers will create an elongated seed pod, similar to a crane’s bill, hence the common name, cranesbills.
Spreading by underground stems called rhizomes, these plants are easy to divide and give to friends or plant elsewhere in the garden. If given optimum conditions such as good soil and partial sun, they may spread but mine are in poor soil and full sun which tends to limit growth. After they bloom in the spring, the green leaves are low enough to serve as a groundcover or border plant. In the fall, the leaves turn red/bronze and most remain during the winter months. I like the fact that the leaves remain above ground over winter so you don’t have as much of a bare spot in the garden. By winter, the leaves are red and very low to the ground. In early March, as new green leaves appear; the plant puffs up a bit, giving it volume and height so the spring flowers appear about 6 to 8 inches above ground.
Biokovo is the 2015 Perennial Plant of the Year, sponsored by the Perennial Plant Association (PPA). The PPA will be hosting its 33rd Symposium in Baltimore on July 27 to August 1, open to members of PPA as well as non-members. Because Biokovo is the 2015 Perennial Plant of the year, the PPA website has more information on Biokovo and is selling T-shirts with pictures of the plant.
Click on “You Can Grow That!” for more gardening related posts. You Can Grow That! is a collaborative effort by gardeners around the world to encourage others to grow something. Gardeners usually post articles on their blog on the fourth day of the month.