Pelargonium graveolens meaning strong smelling in Latin was grown from seed last year and is now flowering, it has strong minty rose triangular deeply incised scented leaves and pale pink flowers. The scented leaves are used in food and beverages and is native to the Limpopo province and in parts of the Western Cape.
though the leaves appear the same and we have had this plant a few years, the flowers have always been cream coloured until now. Very Strange
Early colonists from Britain brought pelargoniums with them to the United States which were used to flavour cakes, syrups and potpourri.
A popular pelargonium at the time was the “true rose” which was a hybrid of P. graveolens.
Thomas Jefferson minister of France and third President of the United States of America sent pelargonium seeds to the botanist John Bartram in 1760 who grew them in his botanical gardens in
Philadelphia, known as Bartram’s gardens now the oldest botanical gardens in North America- more info athttps://bartramsgarden.org/history/
Thomas Jefferson himself was said to have grown them in the presidential house from 1801-1809.
After this time pelargoniums became increasingly popular in the United States.
Thomas Jefferson was one of the earliest responsible for creating the declaration of independence after the rejection of the British monarchy/aristocracy & the American revolution.
Pelargoniums were first introduced into Europe during the 1600s when new discoveries and trade routes began to unfold,
P.triste was the first recorded pelargonium to travel to Europe and was taken to the gardens of Leiden by the Dutch East India company followed by many more newly discovered pelargoniums.
The Countess of Strathmore collected many South Africa plants including Pelargoniums and sent William Paterson a Scottish Soldier & botanist to collect plants for her from 1777 to 1779.
During the Victorian era pelargoniums became increasingly popular & greatly admired and were often kept in greenhouses and conservatories, many new hybrids were being created to appear more colourful and showy. After world war 1 & 2 these plants started to fall into decline.
Over the decades these amazing plants are now returning their popularity.
This image is of Pelargonium scintillans (sparkling stock’s bill) from an old book from www.artscult.com
It originates from the Eastern Cape province.