Welcome to the

Pith   Vigor



the Book



Hey There! I’m Rochelle Greayer. I’m a garden designer on TV and IRL. I’m also an author and entrepreneur who thinks she can save the world by teaching everyone a little something about landscape design.



REgister now!

A Free Master Class




Join the Course Today!

Mix & match plants like a pro!

If I Can Only Grow One Plant In The Next Year, It Will Be This – (Geranium maderense)



Call it an obsession if you will, but I am continually searching for the biggest and boldest plants that will wow our guests when they enter Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. One way of doing this is to bring in plants that many have possibly never encountered before. With a touch of the exotic in the garden, it makes garden visitors oooh and awww at the presence of something new in their midst. These oooh’s and awww’s can have a little special twist when these new plants look somewhat familiar. I can already anticipate the responses from avid gardeners when I tell them that the 5 foot tall plant in front of them is a geranium. “A geranium?!? Well, I thought it did look a bit like a geranium but there is no way that one could ever get this big.”

Enter into the garden the magnificent Geranium maderense or Madeira Island geranium. There is absolutely no way that this geranium would stand a chance of being hardy along our USDA zone 6a garden as it completely turns to mush below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. I do not care if it is hardy or not, I want to find someone growing these and plant them in our summer garden beds. Geranium maderense is a biennial so we would need to find someone growing them into their second year or set aside some valuable real estate in our greenhouse for a dozen or so plants. Our plant propagator would freak out if I asked her to grow a dozen plants that get up to 4 feet wide in a greenhouse for over a year.


The first time I saw one of these plants was in the conservatory of Longwood Gardens. I had that initial reaction of amazement along with some hint of familiarity with this plant. Since seeing these plants, I also saw an informal grouping in a courtyard at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. With our mild summers and continual moisture, I am hoping that Geranium maderense will thrive under our conditions. The large, light pinkish-purple flowers are borne on erect stems above the foliage. The large, dark green leaves are also spectacular. They are shaped like a mitt (technical term – palmate) and look spectacular even when the plants are not in flower.

I will end this week’s plant post with a plea: do you know of anyone growing the Madeira Island geranium for sale? If so, please let me know as we would love to add such a showstopper to our gardens next year. Also, have you ever been fortunate enough to grow this spectacular plant?


Images: inetgardens.com, soquelnursery.com

Spread the love

REgister now!

A Free Master Class



Do you Need a
Garden Makeover?

Join my Free Webinar Today!

- Learn my 7-step system to design and build a stunning garden anywhere in the world.

- The 5 mistakes EVERYONE makes when creating a garden. (save yourself time, money, and headaches and get much better results!)

- How to work directly with me (but at a DIY price!) to design and create YOUR own gorgeous garden. 


  1. meagan says:

    now i want this plant too, it looks awesome. i could only find seeds online.


  2. Jackie Straw says:

    I just ordered a packet of seeds for this beautiful plant. I ordered from plant world.com, it’s a great website; hope this is helpful! Can’t wait to get them.

  3. Denise says:

    If you don’t mind substituting the white form, it’s currently available via mail order from Annie’s Annuals & Perennials in Richmond, Calif.: http://www.anniesannuals.com/plt_lst/lists/search/lst.srch.asp?prodid=2584&srch_term=geranium

    I actually prefer the white form to the species 😉

    you can see photos here: http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=39651

  4. rosekraft says:

    I am lucky enough to live 5 minutes away from Strybing Arboretum here in SF so at least once every couple of weeks I have the opportunity to peruse their small plant kiosk for unusual tidbits.
    Today they had a 4″ pot of Geranium maderense, and for some reason I had total recall of this post, and your commitment to find and grow this plant.
    If you would be so kind as to email a physical mailing address I would be more than happy to package the plant up – of course I bought it – and send it off to you.
    As gardeners I think we can all relate to the obsessive pursuit of our current “unicorn plant” – it’s been a good year already as I was able to score a Luculia gratissima a few months ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

join the FrEE 10-day garden Design challenge

Your Garden will look waaayyy better in less than 2 weeks - Promise!

in the weeds?

Sign me up