Geraniums – think outside the (window) box!

Want to know more about the Geraniums at the Door exhibition happening this month? Then read on!

Geraniums at the Door - Zetter House Clerkenwell

The UK’s love affair with Geraniums

Every year UK gardeners plant an estimated 40 million geraniums. This ubiquitous bedding plant is hotter than ever.

Traditionally, it’s always been THE plant of choice for urban and country window boxes and it’s easy to see why: the range of colours are sensational, going from a blackish burgundy, through the reds, pinks, oranges, eventually paling to pure white.  They look fantastic grouped as a single colour, or go crazy, and throw a mix together, you can’t really go wrong.

Geraniums at the Door - Zetter House Clerkenwell

Either way, they give garden, terrace, balcony and window ledge the very brightest pop of colour and it‘s difficult for other plants to compete with – hence their popularity.

Added to this is the geranium’s ability to thrive on neglect and survive for longer without water than many other bedding plants (though don’t push it, they’re not cacti after all!)

Geraniums at the Door - Zetter House Clerkenwell

But it’s high time that  geraniums break out of their window box confinement and have the opportunity to show their quirky colours and now it’s happened in an exciting floral installation in Clerkenwell for Chelsea Fringe, from 19-27 May.

What is Geraniums at the Door?

Geraniums at the Door celebrates the iconic entrance of the Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell. This is a famously stylish and eccentric Georgian hotel with one of the most photographed doorways in London. Geraniums at the Door sees it decorated with the most quintessential urban bedding plant.

Geraniums at the Door - Zetter House Clerkenwell

The installation, co-designed by award winning garden designers, Claudia de Yong and Indoor Garden Design, garlands the ironwork high above the doorway and stretches down to ground level in a burst of vivid geranium colour.

Geraniums at the Door - Zetter House Clerkenwell

Added to this are traditional horticultural elements of ivy. This is interwoven with aged, vintage wood and some playful animal sculptures for an individual twist.

The result is a great success and gives us all the opportunity to look at geraniums anew. Just look how they embellish even the most classical of Georgian architecture, whilst being contemporary, offbeat, fresh and different.

Try and see it if you you can, because there’s even more good news. In celebration of Chelsea Fringe, Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell has devised a menu of floral inspired cocktails. These are available from the Cocktail Lounge from 19-27 May.

Geraniums at the Door - Zetter House Clerkenwell

7 awesome facts about Geraniums:

  1. A South African: Geranium is a native of South Africa, where more than 250 wild species of the plant still grow. The first geraniums did not come to Europe until the 17th century.
  2. The Pelargonium/Geranium Question: The ‘geranium’ is actually a ‘pelargonium’! To gardeners and botanists “geranium” (in it’s purest form) refers to a winter-hardy perennial shrub. The naming problem occurred in the 17th century when the first pelargoniums arrived in Europe. Mistakenly, they were called geraniums, seemingly due to their similarity to the perennial plant. So we’ve used the name geranium ever since!
  3. Cultural commodity and symbol of homeland: Several European countries consider the geranium an integral part of their culture and a symbol of their homeland. The Swiss have even elected this easy-care blooming beauty as their national flower.
  4. Healing powers: Geraniums are not only decorative, some also have healing powers. The indigenous people of South Africa used the roots of the Cape region pelargonium to treat respiratory disease. To this day they are a main ingredient of the natural remedy “Umckaloabo”. They believe that the essential oils in certain types of scented geraniums help alleviate depression and stress.
  5. Natural insect repellent: Certain scent-leaved geraniums can effectively ward off insects, thanks to the essential oils contained in their leaves. At the slightest breeze or the lightest touch, these plants release their perfume. What may be a pleasant smell to us humans will repel mosquitoes, wasps and other insects. The best insect repellents are geraniums with lemon and orange aromas.
  6. Immense spectrum of varieties: Most people know geraniums as those bright red or white balcony boxers. However the geranium has a huge diversity of colours, leaves and flower shapes, sizes and growth forms. They not only bloom in red, white and pink, but also in many other shades such as pink, violet, lilac, apricot, orange and yellow, as well as a wide range of bicolour variants.
  7. Record breaker: When given proper care, geraniums can achieve record-breaking size. There have even been reports of specimens that have supposedly achieved heights of five metres or a circumference of more than ten metres. Probably not for your average window box then.

Visit www.chelseafringe.com and www.pelargoniumforeurope.com for more info on Geraniums at the Door!

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