This beautiful member of the cranesbill family was named by Nigel Marshall when he was Head Gardener at Mount Stewart in Co Down. Mr Marshall found the plant in a group of G. pratense ‘Mrs Kendal Clark’. At this time there was a considerable collection of the cranesbills, both cultivars and species, at Mount Stewart but he recognised that this plant was different from any others growing in the garden or that he knew from his wider experience in other National Trust and private gardens.

Following tradition (it was common practice to name a new plant either for the owner of a private demesne or for the garden in which the plant was found), the plant was named ‘Mount Stewart’. The flower is a wonderful pale pink overlaid with rich, dark pink-purple veining.

We grow a reasonable selection of hardy geraniums including G. ‘Mount Stewart’ and have found that it does well in several positions. It is a compact plant which is slow to spread and, as it is not as vigorous as many other plants, make sure to allow it a little space to ensure it gets enough light and air and is not crowded out.

At time of writing ‘Mount Stewart’ is listed by The Place for Plants in East Bergholt, Suffolk who offer a mail order service. Finally, be aware that some nurseries list this as G. clarkei ‘Mount Stewart’ due to its similarity to this species.

(As appeared in Newsletter 148, April 2020. Text courtesy of Peter Milligan and photo by Nicola Milligan)