I think it comes into the category of "be careful what you wish for" plants. Like oriental poppies and forgetmenots.
Still, I suppose if you have a spot where nothing else will grow, Bill Wallis is the man to fill it.
Btw, are you from north America or do you really grow it in a yard? It would be tough enough I suppose.
Sorry for the Americanism, Didn't mean to say that really because it is growing in my lawn. Watching too much US tv.
The entry in my Hardy Geranium book says:
G. pyrenaicum 'Bill Wallis.' Dark bluish purple. Very pretty, but is capable of spreading like a weed. The name is often misspelled 'Bill Wallace.'
I believe it spreads by scattering an enormous amount of seed, which germinate and grow quickly steamrollering other plants in the garden. Therefore have to be careful where you plant it if you allow it into your garden.
lovely story Ian. Thanks for sharing it. I love to hear how plants come by their names.
What a smashing post. I was given this plant in return for some others I had passed on. I love it, it frothed about with its lititle purple blue flowers in a cool corner. It has self seeded a little but no way is it a problem for me. I've never seen it any where in the NE. Thanks Ian for posting.
Lovely to know the origins and also to know the traditions of this geranium still follow on, thank you
Bill Wallis was my gardening friend and mentor, offering to take me on as an apprentice at the nursery garden in Buckden to teach me propagation - which he did while lovely Beryl looked after us. We enjoyed working together so much we became the Useful Plant Company until Bill's death. He was a huge influence and was so generous with his knowledge - and we had enormous fun. Bill grew the kind of beautiful plants it was hard to find in those days and he had already found Geranium Bill Wallis in a neighbour's garden as a chance seedling. It was an enormously popular plant with our customers. It is a modest but very floriferous version of its wildling parents, self contained and neat in habit with larger, deeper coloured flowers and no tendency to fling itself about. Bill liked flowers that derived from our native wild flowers and was very interested in conservation as well and gardening. G. Bill Wallis does self seed but is never a nuisance as some inferior version sold by nurseries can be. You can usually spot an inferior version by the larger, red tinged centre to the plant, longer sprawling stems with quite small flowers. I still have the original but only by getting some new plants from our friend and fellow nurseryman Joe Sharman, who has original seedlings obtained from the Useful Plant Compnay at his Monksilver Nursery.
I was privileged to know Bill, he was an inspiration and true friend and I am pleased to know the garden is still in the family. I send my best wishes. I garden in Norfolk now and am a member of the RHS's Herbaceous Committee. Thank you Bill and Beryl.