MW geranium steals the show

This Mother’s Day, three of my wishes were granted: First, a fresh air vent in our greenhouse, which was not functioning properly and was causing me a fair amount of concern, was taken care of promptly and precisely.

Second, the perennial eucalyptus, which over time has become quite an unruly shrub, got a nice clean-up job. But, most of all, I was rewarded with two Martha Washington geraniums, with which I fell in love on the day I ran into them accidentally. Also, as these special geraniums were not available in the area of Washington, D.C., where our children live, quite a bit of effort was made to procure them, which made this Mother’s Day a day for me to remember in years to come.

The Martha Washington geraniums, or MW geraniums, as some call them for short, surely are special, and one has to see a specimen in bloom to believe it. While the foliage is attractive, as usual, it is the gorgeous flowers that are the showstopper, for, borne in clusters on relatively short stalks, they come in a striking single color or a combination of colors. The flowers of the variety I received have overlapping petals with a pink outline and an eye-catching dark maroon interior, highlighted by prominent veins, all of which gives them a very full, exotic look.

The MW geraniums, also known as the Regal geraniums, like to be grown in a fertile, well-drained soil and watered, if growing in containers, when the top of the soil feels somewhat dry; and, to help the plants maintain vigor, it is a good idea to feed them with a water-soluble balanced fertilizer on a regular basis. As their tolerance for sun is lower than their other cousins, I have planted mine in planters and kept them in a location that doesn’t get too much direct sun, especially in the afternoon; it is interesting to note that because of their mounding growth habit, the MWs are particularly suited for containers or baskets and are deer resistant, too. Deadheading encourages production of more blooms, although I like to cut some flowers at their peak to keep in a small vase and enjoy their delicate beauty indoors.

It’s a little early to say how the Martha Washington geraniums will fare when the summer gets hot, but presently I am taking good care of my gift of love; besides, as they are growing in containers, I can always move them around depending upon the response – a distinct advantage container gardening has. | 751-0421


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