Master Gardeners host 'Hardy Geraniums'

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2007

JUNEAU - For the third presentation of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners' monthly Presidents Program Series Joan Kasson gave a lecture on Hardy Geraniums Tuesday evening at Floyd Dryden Middle School.

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Kasson, a past Master Gardeners Association president, has conducted several garden conferences and taught many classes. In the Juneau Garden Club's new edition of "Gardening in Southeast Alaksa," she wrote the chapter on growing vines. Kasson is known for her expertise on growing clematis. Most are not aware that she has been growing a large collection of perennial geraniums.

Also know as cranesbills, hardy geraniums range in size from tiny, to 4-foot-high plants. Pictures from her garden show blooms of different colors and different shaped leaves from spring to early fall. Geranium erianthum is the pretty blue flower growing wild around Southeast.

Kasson gave attendees a list of 55 geraniums species/cultivar that she has had success growing in Juneau. She also keeps a list of failures when shopping or ordering. She suggested gardeners look carefully at spring plants brought in by our local nurseries and garden suppliers. Usually there are a few new species that are worth trying out. Kasson pointed out one great bonus of hardy geraniums; slugs seem to leave them alone.

To propagate, most geranium rhizomes divide well. Some will reseed easily in the garden. For those she does not want to spread, Kasson cuts them to the ground just before the plants finish blooming.

Kasson brought many rhizomes to share and a variety of different leaves and shades of green for the lecture.

For more information on the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners monthly Presidents Program Series, contact Susanne Williams at 364-2243.

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