I mentioned last weekend that salmon pink geraniums always remind me of Elizabeth Goudge’s delightful book The Little White Horse. The book is a firm favourite of mine, read again and again when I was a child, and no doubt I’ll read it again with pleasure whenever I manage to retrieve my books from that storage locker in central Spain.
Despite being brought up in a time when blue was for boys and pink for girls, I was never that fond of pink, so perhaps it was Loveday Minnette’s love of the flowers in the book that has made salmon pink my favourite among geraniums. A close runner-up is red – the bright, bright red that verges on vermillion.
Years ago, scarlet geraniums and black cats were a popular combination for decorated mugs, cards, cushions and other household linens. There are probably still a few such cards stored away with my books and other belongings.
I have vague recollections of a poem I wrote featuring terracotta roofs at mid-day, wrought iron balconies, scarlet geraniums and the shadow of a black cat. Mostly I remember that the title came at the end: coal and fire. Even at the time I thought it was clichéd and pretentious, so perhaps I should be glad I can’t find it now!
Given my strong preference for red and salmon pink (though not necessarily together), it’s a pity that the only geraniums I have in my back yard are white. I bought them, unaware of the colour, a couple of years ago and despite my ignoring them, they have survived another winter to flower again.
It seems to me that that’s always the way: the plants I love and cherish don’t survive, while the ones I care little for and neglect are far tougher.
No houseplants were ever killed in my house when I was growing up although, when they grew too big or straggly, they may have been planted outside and left to take their chances in the uncertain English climate. Lessons learnt as a child are hard to unlearn, so, as I have several geraniums in flower, another year will go by when I don’t really feel justified in buying more.
No matter. I realised last year that the white geranium clouds in my yard lend themselves to things other colours wouldn’t. So I will close by re-posting this gif from last summer.