On 12 November Rodger and Jenny Argent from the Pelargonium Society shared with us their journey during which they developed their love for, and vast knowledge gained in, propagating and showing Pelargoniums. As well as enjoying his talk, we were delighted that Rodger brought us 150 cuttings to propagate at home. In Australia, confusingly, these hardy, bright and resilient plants, are frequently referred to interchangeably and incorrectly as both Geraniums and Pelargoniums.
Rodger commented that one would seldom see or grow true Geraniums, and even more seldomly would they be for sale in nursery and retail outlets, as almost all the plants we see growing in gardens are probably Pelargoniums.
The following are the correct descriptions denoting the type of Pelargonium to which we refer:
Zonal Pelargoniums – the soft furry round-leaved more common plants often referred to as Geraniums which sport a ring running around, parallel to and a few centimeters in from the edge. This includes several sub-groups such as the ivy leaved trailing plants popular for growing in hanging baskets
Regal Pelargoniums – the more sharply serrated leaved, stiffer trunked, showy flowered plants, less hardy than the Zonal
Species Pelargoniums – such as Pelargonium Ardens which can be grown from tubers it produces. Species are the ancestors of many of the Pelargoniums that we see today and are numerous in number and variety.
He stressed the need for annual pruning and “tip” pruning throughout the year to keep the pelargoniums compact and flowering nicely. The single most common cause of failure when growing Pelargoniums is over watering. Once established Pelargoniums handle harsh, dry conditions, making them perfect for growing in South Australia’s Mediterranean climate.
To deal with mites Success or Neem Oil extract can be sprayed under leaves.
Rodger also shared the newest varieties namely Zonartics, developed by world renowned Australian hybridist Cliff Blackman from p. zonale and p. articulatum in an endeavor to produce a buttercup yellow Pelargonium.
Other interesting varieties such as the variegated ivy pelargoniums, Johan’s Rowan, Johan’s Colin and Johan’s Ashley and Roxanne a true hardy SkyBlue Geranium were also mentioned. There are also miniature Zonals which flower nearly all year. “Bullet” proof Pelargoniums are White Wedding, Forest Sally and Big Red (a modern compact free flowering, hardy development) is one of the absolute best. He showed us a Species p. apiifolium which could be mistaken for a fern.
A good place to view and purchase these new varieties will be at the:
Festival of Flowers on 28th April 2019 (792 Grand Junction Road, Gilles Plain) where there will be a few hundred Pelargoniums (as it is not the major flowering season)
Annual Pelargonium & Geranium Show October 19th & 20th, 2019 (Payneham Library) where there are normally approximately 1,500 Pelargoniums of many varieties for sale & a significant exhibition
Rose Challenge: Winner Announced
Rodger judged the rose exhibits for our Rose Challenge and judged our Treasurer Glyn Brown’s Black Magic as the 2018 winner. Well done Glyn!
GEORGE’S GARDENING SUGGESTIONS FOR JANUARY 2019
It may be prudent to re-check your watering system to see that it is working as it should, there may be some plants missing out. Re-mulch areas which have soil exposed by plants being removed. Deep soak plants BEFORE a heat wave strikes. Keep the water up to potted plants as they will stress during the hot weather - they may need to be moved to a shadier spot. Have someone to water your pots if you are away on holiday.
Prune any plants that have flowered late Spring or early Summer.
Tidy Wisteria by cutting back to the 4th or 5th bud.
Plant a few more tomatoes and sweet corn as they don't mind the heat.
Dig in compost ready for your first planting of winter vegies.
Harvest fruit as it ripens and clean up under the trees - apply a complete fertiliser
Monday February 11th - Paul Dipuglia from Neutrog will talk about the range of garden products manufactured at Kanmantoo
Meetings are held in the Cherry Gardens Uniting Church meeting room, at 7.30pm usually on the 2nd Monday of the month from February to November.