Published: August 31, 2022

Do all gardeners go through plant phases?

Is it a collecting bug, similar to collecting fine china or antiques?

Over the years I have just had to have as many Kniphofias, Crocosmias, Celmisias, Daphnes, Geraniums. Clematis and Erodiums as I could lay my hands on.

Have I got room for them all in my garden? Of course not!

Do I still have them all? Of course not!

Why not, I hear you ask…well for many reasons, but basically I have either gone off them, or they didn't flower. Possibly they were too similar to each other (especially Crocosmias), too iffy, didn't like my soil, the climate, didn't like me, so have ended up in the compost bin. What a waste!

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Erodium20Trifolium202 49

Am I being more sensible, as the years pass, of course not -just as mad about buying new plants, which either pass the test, have a gap year -then pass, or fail miserably.

Most Erodiums, its seems so far, have passed the test. Pretty little things, which take no looking after, and flower for a long period.

‘Peter Vernon'what a star, compact habit, very free flowering, but later to flower in my garden than the others. The flowers also have a deeper distinct marking to them.

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Erodium ‘Peter Vernon'

‘Eileen Emmett', flops around more and needs pruning to stop her from commanding too much space, but flowers well. The added bonus is that she is a good plant for slugs to hide underneath, so you can just lift up her foliage and skewer them.

‘Kathryn Jay'forms a nice clump, similar to ‘Natasha'.

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Erodium ‘Kathryn Jay'

Two of my favourites are Erodium foetidum, what a star, lots of large pale pink flowers with a deep centre and Erodium trifolium, which gives the appearance of a tender pelargonium, not one bit of it. Very floriferous, pelargonium type flowers, really pretty plant -it does gently seed around, but that's a bonus, as they can easily be dug out and potted on.

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Erodium foetidum

Erodium cedrorum, what a name! But a lovely unusual erodium. With an open habit and flowers which are an unusual shade of pink. I thought from its original appearance that it might be a thug, so it was placed in a not very salubrious part of the garden -under a tree, fighting with lots of Primula denticulata and surprise, surprise, it's doing well. I worry that it I move it, it might become a nuisance or even expire!

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Erodium cedrorum

An iffy Erodium, which I have managed to keep -just, is Erodium ‘Ardwick Redeye'. It is hanging on, unlike the original from Hartside Nursery which is long gone.

Erodium ‘Frans Delight'is sadly departed, so I must buy another and try it in another part of the garden.

Good old Erodium manescavi -a bomb proof plant, with lots and lots of magenta flowers.

It's been in the garden for many, many years; it does seed around so you need to act quickly to remove the offspring, as their tap roots travel to the centre of the earth.

Last year the original plant had reached a staggering 60cms, so it was chopped hard with shears and is now back to more ‘compact'version, but just as free flowering.

Erodium lindavicum pink is similar in colour to Foetidum, but with smaller quite delicate, but totally robust, looking flowers.

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Erodium lindavicum pink

My verdict on Erodiums so far, lovely plants needing very little maintenance.

Maggie Duguid

Text and photos by Maggie Duguid, who is a member of the HPS North East Group.