For those of us looking for lower-maintenance gardens, then it’s easy to discount this tough geranium as just another perennial which will require fussing with. To dismiss it readily is to deny yourself one of the very best summer actors that I have ever grown.

Not many hardy geraniums are equal. Many self-seed prolifically, but others bloom only sporadically after a first flush. ‘Rozanne’, ” however, is nicely behaved in the two regards. I have not ever seen it set seed or spread by runners, and it blooms from early summer until the first hard frost in my Seattle backyard.

There are lots of different ways to use this perennial superstar. As a ground cover, 1 plant will spread 3 feet, which makes it an economical alternative as well as a colorful one. From the stone garden, ‘Rozanne’ would seem right at home tumbling over boulders or rock walls. Or take advantage of its scrambling nature and allow it to intermingle with additional sun-loving perennials at a backyard boundary. As a container specimen, it might make a stunning statement spilling from a tall silver or white kettle, and would require no accompaniment.

However you use it, 1 thing is for sure — you will come back to the nursery to buy more.

Genevieve Schmidt

Botanical name: Geranium ‘Rozanne’
Common name: ‘Rozanne’ cranesbill
USDA zones: 4 to 9 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Average, although at my moisture-retentive soil, it can easily go a full week or longer without watering.
Light requirement: Full sun to sunlight
Mature dimension: 1 foot to 1 1/4 feet tall and 3 feet broad
Gains: Unlike many summer-blooming perennials, it does not require deadheading.
Seasonal interest: Early summer to late fall
When to plant: Spring or fall

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Distinguishing traits. Among the highlights of my summer garden, this hardy geranium is a mass of heavy periwinkle flowers all summer long. The bright green foliage has delicate chartreuse marbling, adding to its long term attractiveness.

The blossoms have deep violet striations leading to a white throat, while purple anthers rise up to tempt passing bees.

How to utilize it. This is one of the most versatile perennials in the summer garden. Although considered a ground cover, it will scramble up low branches and stalks of neighboring plants to make some magical associations.

Planted under a soft pink rose, ‘Rozanne’ creates an instantaneous summer bouquet.

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Let this vigorous beauty to scramble freely between other perennials, like the Indian gay feather (Gaura lindheimeri) shown here. The contrast of white and blue is always refreshing, and the wispy flowery screen brings an easy-care romantic appearance to the border.

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For a different look, play off the purple tints inside every blossom by pairing it with similarly colored foliage. Concorde barberry (Berberis thundergii ‘Concorde’) makes a powerful color companion by echoing this exceptional detail of the geranium.

Ginkgo Leaf Studio

Like many floor covers, ‘Rozanne’ makes a fabulous container specimen, in which it can be permitted to tumble at will over the edges.

Or use it as a mass planting to soften the edges of a patio, backyard steps or walkway, in which it’ll delight with many months of color.

APLD, Cathy Carr

Planting notes. Plant hardy geraniums in autumn or spring, when the soil is hot and easily worked. They don’t require any special fertilizers.

‘Rozanne’ geranium does not require deadheading, but the whole plant can be sheared back to the main crown in midsummer if desired to maintain a more compact habit. As for me, I think this magnificent ground cover ought to be left to do precisely that — cover the floor.

When the foliage dies down in late fall, cut it off. In warmer regions the foliage is often evergreen.

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