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First things first:  This is a Geranium, or Cranesbill.  It is not a Pelargonium which everyone is familiar with.  We all call Pelargoniums Geraniums,  but they are not.  Pelargoniums come in all kinds of colors and shapes (red is the most popular), and we all like to put them in pots in spring and summer.  Bigroot Geranium - what we have here - is a  perennial, and it is one that will bloom all summer long in your garden.  I have read that the foliage is "apple scented."  It is not.  If apples smelled this way, no one would eat them.  To be honest, the foliage smells awful, but it's only if you rub the leaves, and you will not smell it if you pass by.  These flowers are not for picking, so there is no reason for you to have to handle the leaves anyway.  The smell won't kill you; it's just unpleasant.  It makes a lovely plant, especially when it cascades down a slope or over rocks, and it can make a fine ground cover.    The crimson flowers are most attractive and require little maintenance.  When you see the flowering slow down, it is probably time to do a bit of deadheading, and you can expect more blooms in short order.  When it spreads enough to suit you, it is easy to pull up pieces to move somewhere else.  They are shallowly rooted and take root in new soil in no time flat.  Plant this stinky but very pretty and useful perennial in sun in Zones 4-8.  It is reliable, long-lived, and a most attractive, albeit stinky,  addition to the border.  I proudly have it all over the place.

Geranium macrorrhizum (Bigroot Geranium, Cranessbill)

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