"The wild geranium holds its dew
Long in the boulder's shade."
-William Vaughn Moody
Geranium psilostemon (Armenian crane's-bill) is one of the taller & most sprawling of crane's-bill geraniums, but having been hybridized with the low-growing wide-spreading G. endressii (from France & Spain), the resultant cultivar 'Patricia' came out a more compact crane's-bill. It is still quite substantial in size, easily climbing two or three feet up into any shrub it is planted underneath, or becoming a weed-smothering groundcover if there is no shrub bracing it upward.
It was developed by famed geranium breeder Alan Bremner (whose 'St. Ola' Geranium we also have). 'Patricia' normally blooms spring & early summer, starting mid-May, but the second photo on this page was taken in mid-August when it was producing new flowers pretty steadily late spring through early autumn, with hardly any interuption at the height of summer.
It has never been terribly floriferous, though it could be so if grown in more sun than we have provided for it. But it produces its few flowers over such a long period. In chillier climates than ours, however, it would not continue blooming so late.
It's cold-hardy to USDA Zone 5 & with a little protection, Zone 4. But it is not heat-hardy & dislikes humid summers, so not useful above Zone 8.
It has larger than average palmate leaves & vibrant magenta flowers with a black eye radiating purple-black veins. It is one of the brightest colors of any of the many crane's-bills we have.
It likes moist acidic humousy soil but will do pretty well with slightly drier conditions & poorer soil. It likes quite a bit of sun but will still bloom in partial shade. It is somewhat susceptible to damage from wet-foot, but in well-draining soil it never has any problems.
Extremely winter-hardy, some of its leaves will make it through the winter in temperate regions, so it is regarded as semi-evergreen. At the end of winter, it will need all the scruffy bits pruned away before new spring growth comes in.
We initially planted it in the dappled shade of a rohani beach where it intermingled with meadow rue, & was somewhat inclined to wind its way down a little hillside like a semi-creeping vine, though it is actually sprawling rather than vine-like.
It bloomed nicely for its first couple of years, but as the rohani grew, & some nearby shrubs got larger, 'Patricia' found herself in deeper & deeper shade, & stopped blooming.
So in 2004 it was transplanted to a somewhat more open spot amidst other crane's-bills under a sweet cherry, where it soon sprang back to its fuller glory. This is a dappled-sunlight location & 'Patricia' is once again long-flowering.
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