Ponder the Pelargonium

  The childhood, teenhood and macro-adulthood all took place in zone 10, and the lowly zonal geranium (Pelargonium hotorum ) was religiously snubbed throughout. They were every bit as ubiquitous as Stella de Oro and Agapanthus. Snails set up condos under the dense foliage, and since no one ever seemed to deadhead them , late summer found a cluster of canes sticking up with brown-ish red fading flowerheads and shiny mollusk trails criss-crossing across the leaves. I despised them.  At some point , I began to have an interest in the scented -leaved versions.A garden centers' thumbs-up rating could be determined in the scented geranium section- if there even was one. The collection has expanded and receded over the years;   I lose a couple every winter as I turn  my attention to the protection of succulents and cane begonias, sadly neglecting the Pelargoniums, whose needs are  easily forgotten when the gardener is distracted by the look-at-me drama of the Aloes, Crassulas, and Rexes.  A great excuse however, to buy more . They all live in pots, snails are strongly discouraged . The flowers are incidental- I love the downy leaves, the fragrance that stays on the hands, the understated presence in the garden.There is an annual purchase from Robin Parers booth at the San Francisco Garden Show, and a visit to her nursery is long overdue.

Peppermint scented..my favorite.

This one has been around a few years, the tag long gone .

P. Charity Rose

P, citronellum 'Mabel Grey' , Lemon Verbena scented, and they aren't kidding.

P. schitzopetalum, the flower is night scented..but this leaf !

P. asperum 'Grey Lady Plymouth'

P. fragrans 'Snowy Nutmeg'

This years Robin Parer selection, and I've already lost the tag. Bad me. I love the leaves !


  1. Kathy, the second one with the red blotch looks like the Chocolate Mint geranium. I think it's a sport of P. tomentosum. Inter-zonal garden blogs are making me take a second look at my old plant biases -- as did the steps of the potted geraniums at Filoli!

  2. Ah, those steps at Filoli. Who knows, maybe the Scented Geranium will be the Next Big Thing in horto-design..and I'll be a trendsetter ! You could be right on that ID, a purchase decision could have easily been made based on the name. God knows I'm a fool for chocolate mint.

  3. I've got a few scented geraniums myself Kathy! I am very tactile in the garden and I really like things to rub my hands upon and feel the textures and smell the different scents.

  4. I really like scented geraniums, too. They give me a reason to touch the garden and to carry the scent around with me, enjoying it more than most floral scents.

    I've only got a few and the names escape me now while I'm away from home.

  5. Hiya Saucy ! Of all the senses we gardenders enjoy I bet the tactile is the most under-appreciated.I'm always touching plants !


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