Geranium - near Astrikas, north west Crete
West Crete Journal, August 2005


Origin: South Africa
Pelargonium x hortorum (family Geraniaceae)

Geraniums are originally from the mostly dry and hot regions of South Africa. Pelargonium x hortorum, today’s commercial upright zonal types, were first cultivated in England by the Duchess of Beaufort in 1710.  Most of the early breeding was done in England and later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, in Germany.

Various species of the Geraniaceae have been used for perfume, decorative bedding plants, food flavourings, herbal tea and medicine. The scented Pelargoniums were particularly popular in Victorian gardens. Although they are very tender plants, Victorian gardeners would place large pots of these varieties along garden paths so that the ladies, with their long full skirts, would brush against them and release a delicious scent into the air.

From Spring onwards in Crete, it is difficult to find a traditional house which  doesn't have huge displays of red, pink and white geraniums in pots or trailing from the courtyard walls.