The Stanhoe geranium
Until the launch of stanhoe.org, a web search for “Stanhoe” was more likely to take you to a garden centre than to produce information about the village. Why? Because Stanhoe has its very own variety of geranium. We asked local expert Ken Beckett for the story:
“Among the many species of hardy Geranium that I have grown are two species from seed collected in New Zealand. These are G. sessiliflorum, which grows in the mountains on both the main islands, and G. traversii, which is found 640 km to the east on the Chatham Islands – so they never come together in the wild.”
“Grown together in the garden here in Stanhoe, they immediately hybridised, and several identical seedlings appeared over a period of several years. The best of these I kept, grew on and propagated. I then sent one of the plants to the expert on Geraniums, Dr Peter Yeo at Cambridge University Botanic Garden. He confirmed that it was a new hybrid and named it G. x antipodeum from its origin.”
“I also gave several plants to local nurserymen and we gave it the popular name ‘Stanhoe’, so it became officially Geranium x antipodeum ‘Stanhoe’. The hybrid has since arisen in other gardens, but once named, all these plants, unless noticeably different, will be called ‘Stanhoe’.”
photos: Charles Butcher
As you can see from the photos, Geranium x antipodeum ‘Stanhoe’ is a low-growing variety with olive- or bronze-coloured foliage and pale pink flowers. It’s also hardy.
We think the Stanhoe geranium should be widely grown in the gardens of Stanhoe. Please let us know if you have one in your own garden, or if you know where to find it for sale locally.