Wednesday, March 6, 2013

This and that - Cranesbills

Meadow Cranesbill

The sun came out yesterday, was it not wonderful? We have been busy with putting things together for a trip to Whitby at the weekend the car is already loaded up, and a test run yesterday sorted the rattles, LS hates rattles in the car, so we padded out the offending box....
We went to the garden centre to have a look round, and I bought a couple of cranesbills (perennial geraniums).  Plants are so expensive nowadays, they need mollycoddling at such prices, though cranesbill are pretty tough.  My all time favourite in insects are bumblebees, so was on the look out yesterday to see if they would respond to the sun, saw some at the garden centre and rescued a groggy bee wandering along the pavement, though I was not allowed to bring it home in the car.... Bee plant list from the RHS, there is a battle going on over Neonicotinoids  used in pesticides thought to be the result of bee decline, I have signed so many things lately but this one is Buglife, our government of course is fighting the restriction......
Why do I love cranesbills so much, they remind me of summer, find them in the wild, a simple flower either in pale pink or blue, the dusky ones do not appeal....
The following photos perhaps speak for themselves, i.e.why birds are reluctant in the garden, could be the feline company..

Buttermilk and Skinny 

Dyeing - crocus and yellow ochre

Crocus - violet
Just a quick note from Geoffrey Grigson, the plant is also called Blue Basins, Blue Buttons, Blue Warriors and Loving Andrews in Wiltshire.  He does not favour the name Meadow Cranesbill (which in fact I like)
but as he says the flowers are a colour element along the lanes turning red and tawny in the autumn.  He lists five other wild geraniums, which one day I might come back to, but the dusky cranesbill, Geranium phaeme is an introduced species which is also known as Mournful Widow, has the colour of dark red or black.


  1. I'm a bit of a cranesbill obsessive Thelma but, funnily enough, I love the dusky ones, particularly the proper wild one. I love the white ones too. In my old garden I had about thirty varieties but only have about seven here. Forgiving they may be but there's only so much some of them can take!

    Fantastic colour matching with the crocus by the way. I heard the first skylark singing today. Things are getting better.

  2. Hi Em, I used to have lots as well in the old garden, a chalky pink one which I can't find, they are so useful as ground cover, being moved or spreading.
    Actually did not start out to match, it was as the hanks were drying on the washing line, that I notice they matched ;) acid dyes...

  3. Oh you lucky thing, back to Whitby so soon. We will be there for the goth Fest which isn't until the end of April. Have a wonderful time.

    I love cranebills too. I've seen them growing in the hedgerows in Yorkshire. Beautiful!

  4. Hi Paula, yes it is back to Whitby, with a pile of stuff to do in the cottage and the family of course to see, hope you enjoy the festival, LS talks of dressing like a goth he wants a waistcoat for it......

  5. Cranesbills are a plant I've long coveted--to read of Em's 30 varieties sets off waves of envy. Oddly, though I chose several hardy ones for my Vermont garden I never achieved the billows of blossom I hoped for. Likewise, the several planted 2 years ago in my Kentucky garden have merely survived. The cost of plants being what it is and with retirement income to stretch I have to question how many new plants I can buy for experimenting.
    Lovely colors on the wool--always wished I could do something there--a few attempts years ago with knitting and crochet didn't go well, although I can [could] do neat crewel work. At this point I must stick to fabric as in quilts.