The Dirt

Don’t Judge Me (Or My Plant Picks)!

‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium and ‘Black Heart’ sweet potato vine enjoying their first day together.
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade
‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium and ‘Black Heart’ sweet potato vine enjoying their first day together.
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade
‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium and ‘Black Heart’ sweet potato vine enjoying their first day together.
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade
‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium and ‘Black Heart’ sweet potato vine enjoying their first day together.
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade
‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium and ‘Black Heart’ sweet potato vine enjoying their first day together.
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade
‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium and ‘Black Heart’ sweet potato vine enjoying their first day together.
Photo/Illustration: B.Spade

I love geraniums and pelargoniums. So sue me.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to these weedy scented plants, veering toward them in the nursery and mulling over their different leaf and flower options. Not until many years later did I realize how many people loathe these plants. I’ve heard comments that the geranium’s weedy scent stinks, that the flowers are tacky, and that the plants sometimes leggy appearance isn’t appealing. To all of these comments I say STOP. I throw my hands up over my ears and scream “I can’t hear you” at the top of my lungs.

Say what you want in the nursery. It’s a public place. However, when you enter the front door of my home, you better zip it up. I once had an unassuming guest take one look at my new ‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium and ‘Black Heart’ sweet potato vine (freshly potted up, I might add), cringe up his face a little and say “The tie-dye color makes that plant look fake.” Oh, the horror of it all. My plants are sensitive, and I don’t take kindly to insults made against them. So for the future, dear guest, I say keep your opinions to yourself. We can argue over politics, religion, even women’s rights – but don’t you bring your plant trash talk to my table. You wouldn’t go up to someone on the street and say “Hey, your baby is ugly.” I expect the same courtesy for my plants. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

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Comments

  1. jimfloridaboy 06/25/2009

    WOW THATS REALLY NICE PIC ...TY FOR SHOWING........OK
    BYE......JIMMY

  2. nise80 06/25/2009

    My sentiments exactly, especially when the same combo has a happy home in one of my own favorite containers. The colors and textures make them such wonderfully versatile plants, how can you NOT have them in a garden or container?!

  3. floweringangel 06/25/2009

    It is unfortunate that so many naysayers in the general public are so uneducated about the variety and abundance of different plant material. (see my bio). These same people are the ones that predictably ask when the flats of impatiens will arrive, want only the white/pink mix or the salmon. Know the value of hostas, and geraniums and black eyed susies. Predictable, low maintenance and reliable. God forbid someone should investigate pairing an aubergine and shock lime green sweet potatoe vine with coleus varieties and their standard hot pink impatiens. They might stumble across one of the more popular, in vogue, eye popping attractive accent combos for box and containers now available. Not any more maintenance, not any more expensive, just DIFFERENT. Talk about your curb appeal.
    I think a lot of people are afraid of change, of making mistakes and unsure of how to put stuff together. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Thank you for venturing, it's nice to know you don't have to be a master or professor or big time horticulturalist to have your own voice, outside where it can shine.

  4. GardenWiseGuy 06/26/2009

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (of course, so is ugly). But in this case, I love the combo of Pelargonium and sweet potato. I think that committing to something bold and emphasizing the dark coloration is wonderful.

    Stick to your guns.

  5. Noturf 06/28/2009

    When one exposes his tastes, plant collection, sterile lawns,
    silly hedges, one should be adult, mature enough to take
    criticism, creative or not.

    As a Creative Horticultural Critic with credentials, I make constant criticism in my blog. I give and take with indifference unless there is something to be learned from
    the critic.

    Why should people express only good thoughts? If
    the installation stinks, it does, keeping quiet about it
    does not change a bit.

  6. CissyJean 06/29/2009

    Are you kidding? These are GORGEOUS. I would love to be able to find some Pelargonium that look like that. And the Sweet Potato Vine color is perfect with it. Beautiful combination.
    You go, girl! Don't let anyone tell you different.

  7. Brandi_S 06/29/2009

    I'm glad to see I have some fellow pelargonium fans out there! But I can also appreciate that not everyone has my taste in plants. I'm stickin' to my guns on this one though (just like GardenWiseGuy said)! I'm loving this combo.

  8. Noturf 06/30/2009

    Since I am a plant collector with over one hundred species
    identified with their botanical names, do not follow trends, and could care less about uneducated opinions.

    I have my criteria, credentials to choose. After all a garden
    depends on variables such as microclimates, salt breeze, soil drainage and not just futile aesthetics.

    For these reasons I look for no validation, opinions from
    others since one may change the plants with time, but the
    conditions remain for ever...

  9. sweetrebecca 06/30/2009

    It always makes me laugh when people feel the need to 'correct' others and their opinions. To what end? Wouldn't it be boring if we all thought, looked, acted and gardened the same way? What fun is in that?

    There's always people who feel the need to put others down in some sort of an effort to raise themselves up. Unfortunately, it just ends up lowering them even further.

    I believe if someone is even THINKING about gardening, despite their personal tastes, that's a GOOD thing. And as we all know - credentials don't guarantee 'style'!! Facts, yes. Style, well...that's something you're born with.

    Whether or not I like the plant you showed is irrelevant. Thanks for sharing - THAT'S what's important!

  10. carolinaflowergirl 07/04/2009

    "One man's trash is another man's treasure" kinda fits here. Thank heaven we don't all have the same taste, what a boring world it would be. BTW, I've never seen a pelargonium before, it's so beautiful!

  11. valleygardener 07/07/2009

    I love geraniums and pelargoniums as well. In the summer heat of the valley here in SoCal, their color is a always welcome and consistently happening. That is why it is a classic. Also I agree with GardenWiseGuy, I have an "Ace of Spades" sweet potato vine amidst many vibrant colors of geraniums-wonderful combo.
    Another attribute is high impact color with big blossoms from afar.

  12. secretgardener 07/21/2009

    I'm with you. I think they are beautiful too. I have a Mrs. Cox, and I continually take cuttings from it to make more. I do not care if it blooms, which it rarely does anyway, but I love the foliage. Who needs flowers when you have continuous color? I should investigate more varieties and start a family of them.

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