When I first discovered the "Perennial Plant of the Year" selections, chosen annually by the National Garden Bureau, I thought the name was odd as the plants were always things that had been around. To me, they seemed tried and true rather than new, exciting and worthy of being named plant of the year. It took me a while to realize that it was time that tested the plants and helped the group pick a winner, like this year's choice: Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’
In their press release the NGB describes 'Biokovo’ as "a naturally occurring hybrid of Geranium dalmaticum and Geranium macrorrhizum found in the Biokovo Mountains of the Dalmatia region of present-day Croatia." Biokovo is one of nineteen Geraniums that I am currently growing. I've been growing it as long as I've been gardening at this house which is 20 years.
Though it's smaller and more delicately colored than its macrorrhizum parent, it's just as much of a workhorse plant. I use it as a groundcover in a number of places in the garden that get dappled sun to almost total shade. All the locations, however, are under trees which does not seem to bother it. But I agree with the Missouri Botanic Garden which notes that 'Biokovo' does not form as dense a foliage carpet as its macrorrhizum parent.
Digging Dog Nursery offers four variations on Geranium x cantabrigiense in their current catalog. I ordered 'St. Ola,' (pictured directly above) which they describe thus:
"An excellent choice for the north side of the house, this robust new hybrid between Geranium dalmaticum ‘Album’ and Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’ is similar to Geranium ‘Biokovo’ but much more vigorous, forming a lush and leafy evergreen carpet. ‘St. Ola’s white overlapping flower petals fade with just a hint of pink and create a pearly carpet . . ."
Sounds like a winner to me. Maybe someday it will make the NGB list!
A peninsula of 'Biokovo' Geraniums growing in my garden under a huge Burning Bush and a Sugar Maple.
The National Garden Bureau, founded in 1920, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life through increased use of seeds and plants. Their motto: "Let's Go Garden!"