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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Three days – three new hardy geraniums: 3 - ‘Double Jewel’

Posted by Graham Rice on 03 May 2008 at 05:08 AM

Now here's a cracker, a bicoloured double-flowered meadow cranesbill, Geranium pratense! Just look at that picture, click on it to enlarge it. Have you ever seen anything like it? This is new in the RHS Plant Finder this year - though listed simply as Geranium ‘Double Jewel' and not under G. pratense.

The plant was discovered a few years ago in Holland by Jan Verschoor, well known as the breeder of phlox such as ‘Peppermint Twist'. He spotted it in a batch of G. pratense ‘Plenum Album' which had been raised by tissue culture, immediately realised its appeal and named and propagated it. Many growers would have restricted propagation by applying for Plant Breeders' Rights. However, Jan told me: "We did not apply for breeder-rights as it is in our opinion unfair to do so." So anyone can propagate it.

As well as its unique, dark-eyed double flower ‘Double Jewel' is noticeably dwarf for a cultivar of G. pratense. Jan tells me it only reaches 25cm in its first year - and that the plant is too new to tell what the height of a long-established plant might be.

[As an aside... Oddly, last autumn, the same mutation occurred with another Dutch grower, also in a batch of G. pratense ‘Plenum Album' produced by tissue culture. This plant, although apparently identical to ‘Double Jewel', has been named ‘Alegra Double' and it seems this second grower is applying for Plant Breeders' Rights. Presumably this application will fail as the same plant is already on the market as ‘Double Jewel'.]

Anyway, whatever the confusion, this looks to be a great plant and seven nurseries are already listing it in the new Plant Finder. I'm looking forward to growing it.


Pages tagged "days of the new" said:

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on 11 May 2008 at 09:45 AM

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on 20 May 2008 at 06:35 AM

phlox peppermint twist said:

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on 24 Jun 2008 at 11:21 AM