Rozanne's Crane's-bill; aka
'Gerwat' Hardy Geranium
"Oh, beautiful are the flowers of your garden,
The flowers of your garden are fair:
Blue flowers of your eyes
And dusk flower of your hair."
'Rozanne" (not infrequenty "corrected" to the mispelling 'Rosanne') is a hybrid crane's-bill introduced by Blooms of Bressingham. It's real name is 'Gerwat,' but it is almost never called by its registered cultivar name, having become far better known under the commercial trade name.
It was originally spotted in 1990 by Donald & Rozanne Waterer in their personal retirement garden in Somerset. They nurtured the find, then offered it to Adrian Bloom of Blooms of Bressingham in 1992 for commercial development. It was released to the public for the 2000/2001 gardening seasons.
It originated as a spontaneous hybrid of G. himalayense with the Award of Garden Merit cultivar G. wallichianum 'Buxton's Variety.' Both species are native to the Himalayas, though as a rule G. himalayense blooms spring, & G. wallichianum blooms summer & fall. Under the Waterers' care, the blooms of each was extended, so that they overlapped & crosspollinated.
The resulting hybrid is a strong presence in the garden & a stand-out among hardy geraniums in general. It has faintly marbled rich green leaves. It has much larger than average (two inches plus) blue-violet flowers fading to white centers, larger even than than the white-centered flowers of G. wallichianum.
'Rozanne' begins blooming mid-May, & insures crane's-bill blossoms still in the garden late in the year, as it flowers almost continuously well into autumn. At some point during the summer it is apt to stop blooming for a little while. That's when it should be sheered to keep it from sprawling too awfully much, & to induce rebloom. It will be as fabulously aflower in October & November as it was in May & June.
Blooms of Bressingham may have been a wee bit hyperbolic in calling this the crane's-bill of the millenium, yet the temptation to be wildly enthusiastic is understandable, the blossoms being numerous, of exceptional size, bicolored, & so long-flowering.
It wants moist well-drained humusy soil in full sun or light shade, but must not dry out entirely when in full sun. It's suited to cool & temperate regions (USDA zones 5-8) & tolerates heat better than the majority of crane's-bills, taking after the G. wallichianum side of its heritage; thus it can stand more sun to maximize flowering, but without suffering or losing its bloom power at the height of summer. Ours has a sunny moist location near a deciduous azalea, where it behaves slightly like a semi-climber reaching into the azalea's lower branches, blooming ferociously.
'Rozanne' is a sterile hybrid, so garden propagation is from cuttings, though it may take many tries to get a cutting to start; or more easily by division, though it tends to remain fairly compact & not require division often, & could go indefinitely without dividing. Though difficult to propagate rapidly, the individual clump is longlived & easy to establish.
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