Mourning Widow (Geranium phaeum)

I absolutely love mourning widow.  It’s also known as Cranesbill.  It’s a type of hardy geranium that is perfect for a woodland garden, and does well in poor soil in dappled sun conditions, making it useful for planting under trees and shrubs.  In other words, it thrives in that most difficult of garden conditions: dry shade.

CIMG6969Mourning widow grows in small clumps and flowers from March with small purple, almost black, flowers.

Mourning widow are a super-valuable woodland perennial as it flowers from early spring to late summer.

Plants form a mound of deeply-cut green foliage, bearing unique dark maroon-purple clusters of flowers.

Plants need to be cut back after blooming to encourage fresh new foliage.  If left uncut the plants can suffer from powdery mildew.

Clumps are easily divided in spring or early fall.  Or do what I do and cut spent flowers once they’ve matured to seed, and then drop the cuttings where you want your next patch of flowers.  It’s as easy as that!  (I do the same with forget-me-not, which freely self-seeds and can be spread easily as described above).

This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring.