We have a large collection of species and cultivars from the Geraniaceae family. This family includes the popular Geraniums and Pelargoniums familiar to gardeners.
The Florence E Clarke Geranium Conservatory has changing displays of the cultivar collection.
The Pelargonium House has changing displays of these popular cultivars. Many are for sale in the Friends Nursery
The primary role of Botanic Gardens is to conserve species. We display unusual species from the Geraniaceae family. Garden beds near the house represent the rocky, undulating terrain of South Africa where most of these plants originate.
The collection is a species reference collection for the Geraniaceae family focusing on five distinct Genera. Geranium, Pelargonium, Sarcocaulon, Monsonia and Erodium.
The geranium family
The geranium family was first recorded in 1576 in southern Europe. Hybrid plants began appearing within the first 50 years of discovery. These plants are still popular today as they are easy to grow.
Sir Joseph Banks on his 1770 voyage with Captain Cook discovered the first Pelargonium in Australia at Botany Bay. He named it Pelargonium australe. Since its discovery many other species of Pelargonium and Geranium have been found in Australia.
Plants related to the Geraniaceae family can be found growing naturally through north Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Himalayas and various islands scattered through the Atlantic ocean. Most can be found growing in South Africa.
The Geranium family consists of five distinct Genera. Geranium, Pelargonium, Sarcocaulon, Monsonia and Erodium. All of theses genera are held with in our collection.
The cultivars can be separated into four main groups:
1. Regal Pelargonium
Regals have a very impressive floral display. The flowers are large and richly coloured ranging from pale pinks, reds to darkest purple. They prefer a cooler, wetter climate to other Pelargoniums and flower from September to January.
Zonal Pelargoniums are often called 'geraniums' and have medium round shaped flowers that bloom through out the year. The colours range from white, to pinks and vivid reds. They are the red geraniums that are often seen in window box planters. Some are also grown for their ornamental foliage.
3. Ivy Leafed
Pelargoniums are generally climbing plants that have distinctive ivy like leaves. The flowers range in colour from whites to pinks, reds and purples.
Pelargonium are grown for their scented foliage. Scents include lemon, peppermint, and cinnamon. The leaves can be used as herbs to flavour teas and come in a range of sizes and colours. The flowers are insignificant and range from whites, pinks and purples. These plants will tolerate dry periods better then any other cultivar.