It was not that long ago that I enthused, to the derision of some readers, over a double-flowered hairy bittercress seedling. I am sorry to relate that it did not set seed, as I feared it wouldn’t, but it hangs on and keeps producing flowers so I have tried to take cuttings – I know, it is a kind of madness!
You can read more on the original post – Double bittercress
So it will not come as much surprise to learn that I am featuring another weed today. Few native plants (weeds) have much potential as garden plants (though I know there are notable exceptions) but one of the prettiest is one of our native geraniums. Geranium robertianum (herb Robert) is a common weed that spreads by seed. It is not something that most people want to introduce into the garden because, though pretty, with small, pink flowers and red stems to the ferny leaves, it seeds prolifically, chucking the seeds around in typical geranium fashion. The whole plant is also aromatic – to be generous. I have, in a previous life, grown the pure white ‘Album’ from seed and it has stayed with me since, even coming with me (unknown) across the Irish Sea in other pots and appearing now and then.
But today’s plant is not that but a variegated form. Several years ago I found a variegated seedling and dug it up and potted it. It grew well, with very randomly variegated leaves. Some were part white, others all white and others green. The white tissue is enhanced by the red pigment in the plant, making it look pink at times and salmon orange at others. The original plant died – it is biennial – and I allowed it to seed naturally and have now dug up the three best seedlings to grow on together. When bigger I will plant them out and see how they do – and if they produce a decent proportion of variegated seedings. If it does I think this could be garden worthy. I can’t find any reference to a variegated G. robertianum so maybe it is new.