Thursday, July 12, 2007

'Hocus Pocus' toutous talontus, vade celerita jubes*


Geranium pratense 'Hocus Pocus' Meadow Geranium, Meadow Cranesbill

I was looking through a catalog and saw some attractive perennial Geraniums, in particular the G. phaeum. Here's a photo from the BBC website. I thought to buy it but we had already ordered so many other plants I just crossed it off the list. We were at Lowes the past weekend buying a toilet flapper and just cruised through the garden center. To my delight they had some G. pratense 'Hocus Pocus' for 1/2 off so we bought a few. Not the G. phaeum I wanted but a beautiful plant in any case. I can easily see that this could be another plant collecting obsession as there appears to be over 300 species of annual and perennial Geraniums.

I came upon an interesting website showing the Geranium pratense under ultraviolet and infrared light. Some pollinating bees, flies and moths see light in the ultraviolet spectrum and the flowers that strongly absorb UV are especially attractive. Actually the whole naturfotograf site is pretty interesting and amazing. Especially the entry under Lamiaceae, Glechoma hederacea which fluoresces with an electric blue and purple with red spotting. Very cool photo!

See Phagat's website for more information on G. pratense 'Hocus Pocus'. The site has so much more information about the plant than I could possible dig up.

From Wikipedia: "Cranesbills are eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail and Mouse Moth."


Anonymous The County Clerk said...

Love the cranesbill. Gorgeous shot. Hopefully mne will develop to such a point.

10:29 AM  
Blogger DeeMom said...

WOW I want one, will look into this for sure ~~~~~

Love blue flowers, but then I like the rest as well, BUT BLUE is a fav colour

6:17 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Clerk,
Thanks. Since cranesbill is a weedy sort so I'm sure yours will flourish and flower soon. For some reason we have not planted cranesbill until now. I guess Geraniums were always associated with the stinky, pungent annuals and very few varieties of perennial Geraniums were offered in the garden centers or at least I was unaware of them. But that's not being unaware.

I noticed a weed with a similar leaf and stem color growing in one of our planting borders so I left it alone to see what it would turn out to be. It has buds now and will flower soon so I'm glad I didn't get rid of it. I'm hoping that this is a wild cranesbill and it will be interesting to compare with the 'Hocus Pocus'. I'll post a photo if it is indeed a Geranium.

Thanks for your comment.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi deemom,
When I went out to photograph the Geranium I thought the light was perfect as the early morning rays just touched part of the flowers. But I was able to get only a few good pictures with the sunlight kissing the flowers. Either the camera or my hand would block the direct rays and I thought the pictures would look rather insipid but it actually turned out better with the indirect lighting. I have much to learn about lighting in photography. it's a good thing that I shoot a lot of pictures of the same plant.

Anyway, I'm with you when it comes to blue flowers, especially when it's such a delicate shade of blue melding into a purple/pink. I still would like to have a G. phaeum too.
Thanks for stopping by.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous The County Clerk said...

Ha! I'm just playing with some for the first time too.

I've long known that the garden center "Geraniums" weren't geraniums at all (but Pelargoniums which USED to be classified similarly to cranesbills) but I never looked into the Cranesbills.

This year I saw a post (Chuck B) of a mature Geranium maderense... the Madeira Cranesbill... and it blew me away. It is the largest cranesbill species. So I ordered some seeds. (Various species.)

I wrote a little about it: Purple Geraniums from the Purple Islands, from the Land of Purple Mountains. Whatever.

But honestly, I'm not having terriffic luck. Some sprouted. I have some growing. But these guys aren't "taking off." And the Madeira Cranesbill is a fragile sensitive plant. I received 15 seeds. 11 sprouted. I gave 3 seedlings away to an interested neighbor. Of the 8 remaining, I'm down to 3, 2 of which are in decine. (But the 1 looks reasonably good.)

I am envious maybe. Or just curious. Yours are healthy?

6:43 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

I just saw the the G. maderense at the Whoreticulture blogsite. What an impressive plant! You certainly picked a great Geranium to start your collection with but you don't make it easy for yourself by growing it from seed! I hope the one of three that looks good will survive to the flowering stage.

We bought full grown plants so I have no doubt they'll survive. But thanks for pointing me to the J. L. Hudson seed company. I already have a list of seeds I want to buy including the two plants discovered by the Lewis and Clark expedition, namely the Clarkias and Lewisia redivida.

As usual your post was interesting and informative. You'll do a follow up if/when the G. maderense blooms?

7:11 PM  
Blogger kate said...

Geranium collecting can quickly become a passion. I used to have many in my Ottawa garden, but now have just a few here... smaller varieties that don't take over. The phaeum was one of my favourites ... now I'm pretty content with G. sanguineum 'Max Frei'. It is such a hardy soul ... with smaller leaves and magenta-coloured flowers. I've also had a problem here with powdery mildew on a few of my genaniums, something that never happened in the east.

I love geraniums ... 'Hocus Pocus' is a beauty!!

6:43 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
I Google imaged Max Frei and think it's a dandy Geranium. I'll have to add it to my list. That's the problem with plants. One can easily become obsessed with collecting as many cultivars of a species of plant as possible to the detriment of the pocketbook. You get such beauty in return so it's money well spent I guess. Better than some other addictions.

I just read that using a spray of neem oil helped control powdery mildew, something we have a lot of here in NJ.

You should take a look at the G. maderense that Hank mentioned in the comment above. It's a giant and the flowers are remarkable.

Thanks for your comment.

6:36 PM  

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