Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’

I’ve long enjoyed and admired hardy geranium. I especially like the bigroot geranium (‘macro’ = big, ‘rrhizum’ = root, like a rhizome) for its velvety texture and strangely-scented leaves. I don’t really know how to describe it other than ‘strange’ — it’s kind of citrusy, maybe apple-y, but not quite, and with a zing. For those of you familiar with the plant family Rutaceae, it reminds me of that ‘rutaceaous’ smell.

Although I would grow it just for the leaves and texture, we get the added bonus of dark magenta flowers in spring. They last for a few weeks and really make a dark corner pop. They don’t always bloom at the same time for us, so be careful siting around other pink plants. It clashes terribly with a bleeding heart, for example.

In our yard it colonizes nicely in some shady nooks out back, but it usually doesn’t crowd out other plants unless they’re very short. I don’t know when I first planted it, but it’s another plant that I can’t imagine being without.

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