Geranium Rozanne - The Best Plant of the Centenary - 1913 - 2013
In 2013 the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) announced its "Plant of the Centenary" - the best plant introduced at the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK in the last hundred years (1913 - 2013).
Top horticulturalists helped to nominate the 10-plant shortlist and the public voted and decided that
is the best overall plant. Right now, in August, you can see why they chose this plant - it is a sturdy perennial that requires little attention and is covered with beautiful, violet-blue flowers growing atop mounds of deeply cut, green foliage.
Geranium Rozanne, Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' and Blue Annual Salvia at NYBG - photo by Jan Johnsen
It flowers in profusion from June to frost. Midsummer heat does not deter the flowers and the plants are spreading but not sprawling. It is mounding and can be planted above rocks and walls to great effect. The blue color of the flowers deepens as the weather gets cooler.
This is the true perennial Geranium that grows in full sun or partial shade (in the South and in the warmer areas of western Zones 9 and 10). It likes good drainage and can be in exposed sites. It does not seem to be affected insects or diseases and is not eaten by rabbits.
Hanging over a Rock wall - Jan Johnsen
Its story began in Donald and Rozanne Waterer’s Crooked Acre garden in Somerset, UK in 1989. Upon retirement, Donald and Rozanne tended their garden.
Rozanne Waterer was particularly fond of hardy geraniums and had 25 to 30 different varieties planted in the garden. With Donald’s background in plant breeding, they continued to make selections and crosses with the plants at hand.
One day Rozanne noticed a plant that was different from the others. It was a stronger grower, with larger leaves and flowers. The next year it came back on its own and flowered non-stop from June until the first hard frosts in November!
The rest is history.
You can plant it in an informal garden, rock garden or in a gravel garden. My favorite way to plant Geranium Rozanne is to use it as an underplanting for roses. I find the purple/blue contrasts beautifully with Super Hero red shrub roses. I also like to plant it with pennisetum 'Hameln' as I did here for a client's garden.
Gerannium Rozanne and Dwarf fountain Grass on a Slope in August - Jan Johnsen
Click here to Watch a video on Geranium Rozanne ('Gerwat'
Thousands of people voted for the Plant of the Centenary from a shortlist of 10 - one for each decade the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been held - and the beautiful geranium achieved the top spot. The shortlist was picked by a panel of horticultural experts from plants launched at the Chelsea Flower: Show:
Here is the Top Ten shortlist (photos from Southwest Landscapes in the UK)
1923 - 1932: Pieris formosa var. forrestii
1933 - 1942: Lupinus Russell hybrids
1963 - 1972: Cornus ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’
1973 – 1982: Erysimum ‘Bowles's Mauve’
1983 - 1992: Heuchera villosa ‘Palace Purple’
1993 - 2002: Geranium Rozanne (‘Gerwat’)