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April fools and geraniums


On another forum site (which at one time had a lot of hardy geranium members) I had gotten into the habit of creating a fake magazine cover for a fictional hardy geranium magazine. The idea had started when some forum members found a template to create fun magazine covers. At the time, my dial-up service (I was still online at home then) did not allow me to access that template, but being a graphic artist, it was easy to join in by creating a cover from scratch without any template. I of course chose to do a glossy all colour hardy geranium publication… the kind I dreamed existed.

That first cover was made as an imaginary but serious cover, then every year for April Fools I would create a less serious cover.

I was planning one for this forum this year, but as April Fools would have it… My computer started to die. Some days it will run for 5 minutes before clicking off, others only seconds. Needless to say, a fake magazine is not high priority to use up my 5 minutes with!

Here at the little, local library where I do my online stuff these days, it is not possible to do the creative layout and photoshop stuff I’m used to preparing. I was able to copy a couple of those covers from an album at that old site and post them here.

I have also included copies of a few other photos that are from 2010, that were also in that album. It may be quite a while before I am able to get back to working on my photos the way that I have been. Nothing that winning the lottery would not cure… But then I guess I would need to buy a ticket!

This next photo is about where I am these days… A few geraniums germinating on the windowsill. These would be varieties that are less hardy (from Canary Islands or South Africa) and get started indoors rather than the usual winter-sown method.

Back in 2010, I was also starting some others indoors, such as the G. pratense shown.

Geranium palmatum was grown indoors for my first winter having it, but then I housed it in a back porch that only reached a few degrees below freezing. It survived that fine (for a couple years now).

I look forward to that new growth of the G. phaeum types, as they are the first to grow here in the spring. They have a lot of different foliage colours. However there is still a couple feet of snow that has to melt!

Some of the dark pratense and some oxonianums also have distinctive early foliage.

More blog posts by bowl_you

Previous post: The other kind of 'white garden'

Next post: Ontario Rock Garden tour



Hi John ..
I like your fun magazine covers ...

It's frustrating when you don't have access to all the technical computer facilities !

Good luck with winning the lottery ...
... but, yes, you have to be in it to win it ;o)

4 Apr, 2014


Ain't that the way! Just when you need it no Internet!
Loved the mock magazines and of course your geraniums are all looking great.
I hope the weather is improving for you over there.

4 Apr, 2014


Love that first cover for the photos and the second one for the giggle. It seems amazing that the geraniums all survive your long cold winters. Have you ever counted how many varieties you have?

4 Apr, 2014


Brilliant ! Wish I could add this blog to my favourites
but the site isnt behaving very well for me these days.
The 'Dungy' p.m. form keeps repeating, Dave chasing the 'techies' isnt very effective. Dungy cant help.
Its annoying when something really good like this blog
comes up and I cant keep it.
Perhaps another member can help me ?

7 Apr, 2014


We are getting some bare patches around the yard now, mostly under large evergreens where not as much snow falls. We are getting wet snow right now, but it is melting and turning to rain. It is of course all that snow that allows me to grow many plants that a place like the UK would have trouble with because of cold and wet without snow protection. I have lost very few plants (geraniums) over the last 6 or so years of serious collecting. Many of those were borderline anyway (zone wise). The most trouble has been with a few of the cinereum group, but I read of folks everywhere having trouble with some of them.

The total number of varieties (both species and hybrids) that I have is over the 200 mark. It is amazing how they all disappear into the garden and don't seem like such a large number. Of course being a relatively new collection many are still small single plants, and I look forward to the day when I have larger clumps and/or drifts of them.
Seed schemes have greatly increased my collection, especially for species plants. Hybrids from seed are not always similar to the parent and never should be named as such, but they can still produce interesting plants.

I am surviving fine by checking e-mails (which are few and far between anyway) at the library. My old computer was state of the art in it's day. There is no budget to replace all my software that I'm used to working with. Sure a basic computer is not all that expensive... But add in page layout and design software, full photoshop, scanner, laser printer, CD burner, etc. and it is all very expensive. I realize working on these windows computers with only Microsoft word at the library that there are limitations. I was spoiled with my top-of-the-line mac and professional programs. But the good thing is that less time at a screen means more real time in the garden. It is like our one tv channel with our rabbit-ears... We would only watch more television if we got more choice, not always a good thing. I'm not against the new devices, but I don't really feel I need them. I see far too many folks addicted to this stuff, but I won't get started on that thought.

Before I side tracked myself there, I mentioned the seed schemes.... I just counted my pots of winter sown seed and there were 176! Many geraniums, some erodiums, a few other alpines, as well as various perennials including hosta and daylilies. We have quite a few varieties of daylilies and hostas as well as what could be called butterfly and hummingbird plants. We have always been interested in butterflies (mostly monarchs) and other pollinators.

I'm just back from a pollinator symposium put on by Pollination Guelph. Guelph is a small city of about 150,000 about two hours from here. Every year they run this all-day symposium with speakers and workshops. This year the main feature was a panel discussion about bees and the neonicitinoids used on corn and soybean crops. It was a lively discussion. I'm sure this is an issue worldwide.

8 Apr, 2014


You must miss photoshop though, once having had it. Elements is a lot cheaper and does most things. Your garden will be amazing when all those plants grow to maturity! You'll finish up with the national collection at this rate!

8 Apr, 2014


The UK is lucky to have such a thing as the 'National Collections'. We have nothing like that here (Canada). What a great thing it would be to visit National Collections of your favourite plants!

Shades of my white garden blog (previous)....
The ground is all white again with six inches of new snow (only a few white patches remained yesterday) and tonight is dropping to a record (for this date) -8C.

On Sunday I was down to the Toronto Botanical Gardens for a meeting of the Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society, where the speaker was from the Denver Botanical Garden, showing slides of European rock gardens at botanical gardens. It was very interesting and the temperature was 22C.... A big change from today!

15 Apr, 2014


Ber you felt the cold when you got home...

15 Apr, 2014


I think we have turned the corner on winter now. The long-range for the next week or so is all plus temperatures. I look forward to getting out and cleaning up the gardens. Some plants are now starting to send up growth. Our summer migratory birds are now all back and the Juncos and Tree Sparrows that go north now, have not left yet... It's a very busy time at and under the feeder! I love the sounds of all the birds.

All my winter-sown pots will soon be showing signs of germination.

19 Apr, 2014


Thank you for this most interesting blog.

20 Apr, 2014


I just checked my pots of winter-sown seed. All the varieties of Geranium pyrenaicum have germinated. No others, geraniums, or other alpines have sprouted, only the five pots with forms of G. pyrenaicum. This is really the earliest germinator of that family! I now need to move those pots out of the garage on days that are above freezing. I'm sure some of the others can't be far behind. I love this time of year, walking around and finding all the new growth starting in the rockery and beds. So far I have not noticed any winter losses, although some varieties do not show growth for a while yet. Several of my geraniums (that have survived this coldest winter in 30 years) are species or varieties that I am pushing the limits (of zones) with. Some are rated zone 5 or 6, and we are only 4. This is when the snow really helps.

22 Apr, 2014


I have just been rereading this blog. My computer was on sickness leave for a while. My new software is taking a bit of getting used to. The only way I can edit photos is to put them on Powerpoint then save as jpg pics. I have flowers from three pyrenaicum seed sowings. I will post photos asap. I must say I have been surprised at the results.

10 Jul, 2014

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