During the last decade, hardy geraniums have become very popular ornamental garden plants. It is not hard to see why - they are work horse perennials and many have a very long flowering time. They are easy to care for and tolerate different soil types and amount of sunlight.
December 2003 an avid gardener and collector of hardy geraniums, Birgitte Husted Bendtsen, published a beautifully illustrated book titled 'Storkenaeb' - (title translates into cranesbills). Every nursery and plant center here in Denmark have since her book was published, provided gardeners with an ever growing collection of hardy geraniums.
In 2005 Birgitte Husted Bendtsens book was translated into english titled 'Gardening With Hardy Geraniums' and published by Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-716-3 . You can get the book from Amazon where you can also search inside the book - My Advice: Get this precious reference book while you can!
Gardening With Hardy Geraniums is the most elaborated and authoritative work written about hardy geraniums ever. The book covers more than 70 species of geraniums and their hybrids. It tells you how to plant and care for them, and how to propagate them. Many examples and pictures inspire you how to use geraniums in gardens. One of my favorite chapters is of course - how to use geraniums as companion plants for roses. All the geraniums described are illustrated with pictures and colour plates showing the flowers and leaves, making the book a helpful tool when identifying unknown geraniums. see link
It is hard not to be smitten by Birgitte Husted Bendtsens enthusiam about hardy geraniums. I know I did and now grow more than 25 different hardy geraniums in my garden, since they are perfect companion for roses. I also make sure to use them in my clients gardens, since they are low maintainance plants, providing both interesting foliage and beautiful flowers. Some varieties are great to use as groundcover and I did a garden for a man, using only hardy geraniums as foundation plantings with spring and summerflowering bulbs. A garden that never needs weeding and extremely little care - just as he wanted it. I did try to encourage him to use other perennials too - like sages, catmints, peonies, ornamental grasses and phlox but he did not want all that garden work. Speaking of Phlox - Birgitte Husted Bendtsen has written a wonderful book about about Phlox. I sure hope it will be translated into English too.
I will go out in my garden and enjoy the warm sunny summer day. I will bring some elder flower lemonade - and my copy of Gardening with Hardy Geraniums. I never get tired of reading this great book.