Unusual Geraniums - Pellies with Star Power

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go," I told the orange Ornithogalum. "While you were really jazzy, cool and colorful when I brought you home, you're looking kind of ho-hum now next to the tulips."
The Ornithogalum as an Ingenue. 

I told the tired-looking plant I might consider keeping it around for a comeback--if I remembered to label the pot and remember where I put it. It's all about looks, after all. Talent comes into play as timing in the plant world. I wouldn't give the Ornithogalum a second glance in mid-June either, no matter how dazzling its blooms are.

And speaking of dazzlers, I wish I could recall which tulip this flamboyant wunderkind is. The show-stealer is a definite keeper. For now, anyway. What will turn this tulip into a timeless classic is its scent. A slight whiff will knock your socks off and make any encounter with it even more memorable. Oh, and there are the green streaks and elegantly-ragged petal edges, giving the flower a really classy look.

Although most of my tulips run out of steam after one or two seasons, there are hordes of varieties waiting in the wings (the wings of Holland, that is) for the next curtain call. It's hard to choose, but I always manage.

As stunning as they were when they made their floral debut, three of my Pelargoniums (pellies for short) will soon be entering re-hab. If you asked this lovely trio what it takes to look so gorgeous, they'd just giggle and blush. The truth is, it takes a toll.
Pelargonium ‘Fringed Jer’rey’ 

There is the sagging. Pellies might start out looking like model plants--all straight and elegant--but nothing lasts forever. 'Fringed Jer'rey' has an earthy style of beauty that depends on its looking fresh, with no yellowed leaves or broken stems. (Nobody wants to see Gidget in a baggy sweatshirt)

'Fringed Jer'rey' will get a new look soon, courtesy of a butch bob. Sometimes that shaggy look just gets out of hand.

Pelargonium 'Madame Layal'
She might not look it, but 'Madame Layal' has been around since the late 19th century. Upright and compact, with a face like an angel, this pellie definitely has the star power of Greta Garbo. With a rounded countenance coquettishly emphasized by a cerise flair and centered by a regally-curved stigma, it's no wonder she is regarded as an angel pelargonium.

'Pampered Lady' only looks pampered.
A relative newcomer is 'Pampered Lady', hailed as an angel type pelargonium at the turn of the century. The bottom of the flower is reminiscent of smudged raspberries outlined in the palest of pinks. At the top are undulating petals in smoldering shades of burgundy. Classy, upright, and no-nonsense, this lady could go toe-to-toe with two love interests, ala Philadelphia Story.

Author's note: These three are part of a group of 10 Pelargoniums I bought from Geraniaceae.com. The size and health of these plants are amazing, these three starting to bloom in less than a month. They were $5 each, so I ordered lots. I'd recommend this seller wholeheartedly.

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