Gardening Magazine

The Ongoing Saga of Geranium 'Brookside'

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

A little over two years ago I vowed, on this blog, to get rid of all my Geranium 'Brookside'.
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
At that point, they had resided in my garden for a few years and I wasn't the least bit impressed. Even in full bloom, they looked messy and out of control; and not in a cottage garden like good way.
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
Needless to say, I didn't have the cajones to ditch them. Instead, I followed my mantra of "If at first they don't succeed, just move 'em somewhere else". And two years later, I'm glad I didn't heave them on to the compost pile. I'm still not necessarily sold on them, but let's say they are trending in a more positive light.
I was further inspired to keep the faith last year, when I read the results from the Fine Gardening geranium trials at the Chicago Botanic Garden. They received a 4 star rating with outstanding flower production. OK, maybe I need to stay patient and let this all play out.
So let's look back on last year.
I really like how these look in their early stages in mid spring. Nice compact foliage:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
And here they are in full bloom:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
Not too bad, especially now that they are in a location where they can spread their wings a bit and spill over on to other plants. A much better fit.
I even noticed more bee traffic in this new locale:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
They still look a bit ragged when their initial bloom is complete:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
So cutting back hard after that bloom period is an absolute must. And to their credit, they bounce back nicely in only a few weeks:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
And fit in quietly amongst all the other perennials, shrubs and grasses:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
I will tell you, contrary to what I've read online, I have never witnessed any reblooming after the heavy shearing. But I am also holding out hope that this will happen one of these years.
The fall color on these geraniums is pretty solid, but does vary quite a bit year to year. Here is how they looked last year:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
And soon after, they fell apart, but that's OK, we've all moved on by that point:
The ongoing saga of Geranium 'Brookside'
And there you have it. Decent but not overwhelmingly eye catching.
I will leave them in their current location again this year and monitor the results ... because that is how this guy rolls.
Before I go, here are some quick bits of info on the 'Brookside' Geranium:
  • The bloom color is best described as lavender and the blooms have a white "eye"
  • For me, the blooming begins in late spring and in fact, these were in full bloom for me on May 30th last year (thanks trusty spreadsheet).
  • Work in both full sun and part shade
  • To date, these geraniums have been both deer and rabbit resistant and that cannot be underestimated.
  • The mature size is about 2' x 2'
  • Survives in zones 4-8  

Anyone else have experiences they are willing to share on this plant?
Do tell.

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