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my little Geum obsession....

Posted by christinmk z5b eastern WA (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 15:34

'Arisonn' asked me to comment a bit further on the Geum I've tried over the years. Prepare yourselves folks! Are you comfortable? Got a hot beverage and comfy chair? I'm long winded about my favorite genera ;-) Don't say I didn't warn you, LOL.

Geum coccineum 'Borisii' (occasionally seen written as Geum borisii, which is wrong)- fair grower. Stands a bit taller than my 'Cooky' and has darker orange flowers.

Geum coccineum 'Cooky'- super vigorous and uber floriferous! This is a very low grower- probably not much taller than six inches when in bloom. Nice spreading habit too. I've noticed in recent years that this one still performs well even if it doesn't get regular division. It probably will soon, but it's nice to find a Geum that can go a bit longer. I sent seed of this one to my good GW bud and she was duly impressed with the offspring. So two (four?) thumbs up for this cultivar.

Geum coccineum 'Cooky' photo cooky_zps44e650eb.jpg

Geum x 'Coppertone'- this is a rivale cultivar. This is my second time trying it. I killed it first time around without much trouble. It seems to be a weak thing, although it might not care much for the semi-arid weather over here. If it doesn't like the new situation I put it in (an area out front that the Geums excel in, what with the sandy soil) than I will try it in a damper/semi-shady area. The rivale species like it moist. Hence the name 'Water Avens' I imagine, LOL!!

Geum rivale  'Coppertone' photo geumcoccineumCoppertone.jpg

Geum x 'Cosmopolitain'- from the 'Cocktail Series'. Only just got this fellow in the summer, so the jury is still out. Seems to be a tough cookie though- it survived a few days of severe neglect!

Geum x 'Fireball'- a quellyon (formerly chiloense) hybrid I believe. This is probably the only chiloense I've had long-term luck with. The first few years it surpassed expectations. Then the spot became a bit too shady for it and it dwindled. I've put starts of it elsewhere, but so far I haven't been able to get it as big and robust as it got in that first location. One observation- it is very tall and the double orange flowers seem to weigh the stems down a lot. In some locations this can cause some major flopping, in others it seems to hold itself upright okay. It does best to plant this near things that can prop it up a smidge. 'Firestorm' is a new-ish improvement of 'Fireball' that supposedly is more compact and less leggy. Flowers are darker orange than appear in my pic...

Geum 'Fireball' & ribbongrass photo 111GeumFireballribbongrass.jpg

Geum x 'Flames of Passion'- could be my favorite. It is a rivale hybrid (x coccineum??) selected by the great Piet Oudolf. Wonderful upright habit with slightly nodding flowers on dark stems. Exceptionally vigorous bloomer. Doesn't mind drying out too much- perhaps that is where it's coccineum heritage shines through?

Geum 'Flames of Passion' photo geum.jpg

flowers against 'Touch of Class' Jacob's ladder
Geum  'Flames of Passion' photo geumfop_zpsd20cfc04.jpg

Geum quellyon 'Lady Strathden'- semi-double yellow flowers. This one put up a greater fight for life than some of my other chiloense cultivars did. Seed strain. Think mine is dead now...not terribly distraught about this, LOL.

Geum x 'Mai Tai'- from the 'Cocktail Series'. According to this site free patents online it is a hybrid cross betweeen 'Mango Lassi' and 'Flames of Passion'. Got this last year, but am quite impressed with it already. It's not even in a very nice spot either. If it declines in this location (crap soil with a dash of crap soil) I might move it elsewhere. So far it shows the wonderful vigor of 'Flames of Passion'. Peachy-apricot color with darker pink highlights. As the blooms age they take on a more of a pinkish hue.

Geum 'Mai Tai' photo geummaitai_zps58698401.jpg

Geum 'Mai Tai' photo gmt_zps564a4799.jpg

Geum coccineum 'Mango Lassi'- Golden orange with darker orange highlights. Not sure what's gone wrong with this guy in recently. First couple years it did well and had a good amount of flowers. Last few years it hasn't produced much flowers, even with division. I've put extra starts around and those haven't done much either. Good foliage growth but not much else. It could need fertilizer to do well, though it seems strange since my other Geum go without (excepting the few odd handfulls of compost when I get around to amending the beds, which isn't often!).

Geum coccineum 'Mango Lassi' photo 57GeumMangoLassi.jpg

Geum triflorum- "Old Man's Wiskers"/ "Prairie Smoke". An outstanding native Geum that (surprise, surprise!) is native to prairies, lol. Honestly, it doesn't really resemble other Geum at all. It's hard to describe the flowers. Nodding pink sepals that hold the stamens? In any event, it's the seedheads that are the main attraction here. It's like the love child of Pulsatilla and Fallugia paradoxa, LOL. After blooming the gorgeous pink-tinged seed heads emerge above the kind of weedy (to me) looking foliage). They don't last terribly long, but boy are they something! Love the texture it provides. Incredibly easy to grow. Does well in full sun and part shade. Doesn't need to be divided quite as often. A winner in my book!

Geum triflorum 'Prairie Smoke' flowers photo DSCN1597_0199_199.jpg

Geum triflorum photo geumt_zps57b3f836-1.jpg

Geum triflorum photo COPYdewonGeumtrifolium.jpg

Geum coccineum 'Pumpkin'- long since dead. Can't even remember what was noteworthy about it. Think the flowers were a bit larger than 'Cooky'??

Geum x 'Tequila Sunrise'- of the 'Cocktail Series'. Holy smokes, it happened again. I was on total Autopilot when I bought this. I didn't even remember it until I saw a picture of it in my files! LOL!! Heck, I'm not even sure where this is in my garden. I suppose that gives you an idea on the impression it made on me. From the pic it seems that the flowers are a light to medium yellow, with some orange highlights I believe? I should wait until next year to comment further on it (and find it, lol).

Geum 'Tequilla Sunrise' photo GeumTS_zpscf75bfb9.jpg

Geum macrophyllum- big leafed native avens. Don't do it people. Don't be temped by this uggo. It seeds like crazy and the flowers are small and unattractive.

Geum quellyon (formerly chiloense) red hybrids: I've only a vague memory I tried of the red forms over the years. Many a 'Mrs. J. Bradshaw' of course. Those lasted a couple years before croaking. Think I might have tried 'Bloody Mary' & Blazing Sunset'. I want to say I tried 'Red Dragon' at one point too, but am not positive. I've given up on the quellyon/chiloense species. They simply don't do well in my region. I suspect it is a combination of our wet winters combined with lack of hardiness. Maybe they would survive in a dryer zone 5, I'm not sure.

Overview: if you have a climate anything like mine steer-clear of the quellyons. Go for the coccineums instead. If you have a damp situation go for the rivales. Even better? Go for the coccineum x rivale hybrids. I'm very impressed with this combo- it seems to bring out the best qualities of each species. Can't grow Geum at all? Give G. triflorum a try. Its tough and does well in a variety of situations.

Ps. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on Geum repens seeds let me know! It's my current lust-after Geum! Along with 'Alabama Slammer', 'Gimlet' and maybe 'Sangria'. Maybe peppered with a few straight rivale cultivars too ;-)

Further interest:
National collection of geum in UK: HERE

Avondale Geum catalog (!!!!): >HERE
CMK


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Hey Christin! Yes! Four thumbs up for 'Cooky'! Thank you again for the seeds. I absolutely love this plant. Just yesterday I was working out in the beds and it is still putting out blooms. And with the still fresh green foliage I decided it is going to become my go-to groundcover.

My seedlings of 'Flames of Passion' went up in flames.
This year I picked up 'Totally Tangerine' and so far that is a winner too. Taller and a blooming powerhouse in quite a shady spot.

I too really like the seedheads of 'Prarie Smoke'.

Thanks for introducing me to Geum! I wish more nurseries would stock it. I rarely see it offered in local nurseries.


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Thanks so much. This is fantastic.


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

-arisonn, you are welcome!

-Susan, glad the seeds did well for you. I forget, did you start them under your grow light, or was it from the WS method? Nice to know the seed produced good offspring too- I was wondering if they would be as floriferous second generation.

Your name will be on a chunk of my 'FOP' next time I get around to dividing it! Love this one. Hard to believe I picked it up at an ACE hardware, lol.

That is interesting Geum aren't as prevalent in your nurseries over there. Another GWebber (Lisa I think?) mentioned the same thing and she lives one state over. Strange!

Hopefully everyone will comment more next year on 'Totally Tangerine' and how it makes it thru the winter. I looked it up on that free patens online site and it said it was a cross between an unpatented species of rivale and G. chiloense 'Mrs. Bradshaw'. It will be interesting to see if the rivale makes it less finicky with wet winters.
CMK

This post was edited by christinmk on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 18:22


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Gorgeous! I had never put much thought into this genus. Purchased 'Fireball' and one other this year on autopilot and they survived the summer but we shall see how they overwinter. Thank you for giving me things to add to my Christmas list!


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Those are such beautiful and interesting plants! I believe that many of these are not hardy in my zone, but I'd have fun trying and could also provide winter protection.

Terrance


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

-Terrance, you might need to double check, but I do believe G. triflorum is hardy to zone 3 and rivale to 2/3? I'm not sure if any of the interspecific hybrid crosses with G. rivale would be hardy for you (maybe in a protected site, like you said), but I bet the plain rivale and cultivars like 'Coppertone' sure would be!

-Karolina, hopefully I make a Geum-ophile out of you ;-) Then we can have fun compareing notes, lol.
CMK

This post was edited by christinmk on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 23:34


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

CMK, I should further check into these. I don't know what selection I had grown years ago and had lost in its first winter, though such could have occurred during one of our rare snowless winters. Yes, come to think of it, a native species does grow here .... so, I might have better success than thought.


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

I'm content to admire other people's geums. I wouldn't plant them here because yellow avens (a wild Geum) is a weed in my garden. I'm not sure why it keeps coming back because it only spreads by seeds and I remove every plant I can find. The seeds are probably coming in on the coats of the local wildlife. If I tried to plant a cultivated Geum, I'd undoubtedly rip it out at some point, thinking it was the weed one!


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

It's always so nice to see something actually growing in someones garden instead of just the online photos or catalog photos and the real-life narrative from experience just makes it all the better. So thank you for this post.

I've stayed away from Geum thinking they might be too fussy for me, but maybe I have to reconsider that notion. From what I see here, there's a lot to love about these.

To boot, you also made me realize I already grow one - Geum triflorum which I adore. In fact, last summer I spent some time dividing a big clump of these and moving them all over the garden to see how adaptable they might be.

Kevin


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

-woodyoak, it took me awhile to rid myself of the G. macrophyllum too. It was so darn difficult to keep tabs on their bloom/seed production. The flowers aren't showy in the least (or even very noticeable) so it's not like they were waving some big colorful flower flag saying "I'm blooming over here!! I'll be making seeds soon!". Lol. You are right, those seeds are like Velcro!

-Kevin, on the whole they are pretty easy. The only issues they have is the need for good draining soil and semi-frequent division. It depends on the cultivar too. Some I practically divide every 3 years while others can go much longer.
CMK


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Christin do you have a blog? You should, this would (and is) an awesome post for it.....
Great pictures and information! Thanks :)


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

-kato, thanks! ;-) I've thought a few times about starting a blog. Last winter I toyed with the idea of starting one on 'blogger' (seemed a fairly easy format- which is good since I am challenged in the computer department, lol).

I'd just worry no one would find it interesting enough to read, LOL. ;-) But maybe it is something I should give another thought to...
CMK

This post was edited by christinmk on Tue, Nov 12, 13 at 21:12


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

I winter sowed 'Blazing Sunset' several years ago and divided the plants this spring. In previous years they bloomed sporadically after the first flush. Also have grown prarie smoke geum for several years.

This spring I winter sowed 'Cooky' from traded seeds but haven't planted them out as wanted to see how orange they are and wondering where to plant them as I have mostly pink, purple, and white flowers. Any suggestions? Three plants went to my sister's garden and I have 4 or five left. May take a couple to our Mn GW spring swap.

I'd love to add some more varieties. Had fun looking at some UK sites with their many choices.


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

-mnwsgal, that's cool Blazing Sunset has lasted so long for you. Do you normally have wet winters/springs or not so much?

At one point I had my 'Cooky' planted with Euphorbia dulchis 'Chameleon' and Ajuga and it was a nice combo. Then the Chameleon and Ajuga started to get out of control (reseeding and spreading) so I ripped them out. Too bad, I liked that the blue of the Ajuga cooled down that fiery orange...maybe pairing yours with blue/purple would help too?

Geum 'Cooky' and 'Chameleon' Euphorbia photo 49springplants.jpg

A new combo from this spring with Euphorbia polychroma/epithymoides 'First Blush'. Not bad, though maybe a bit too garish....
CMK


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

re blogging - I think it's more fun to participate on a forum like this where there are wide-ranging discussions with lots of people. Blogs seem to be more of a monologue in that there is usually not much back-and-forth between the blogger and the readers. I have a blog site but I only use it to hold my garden maintenance manual (which is also a record of the garden and its changes each year). I also have a Picturetrail account to hold pictures for posting to forums etc. It is organized into albums for each garden area organized in a time sequence. So, different sites have different purposes. I hope we don't lose you from the conversations here if you decide to add blogging to your suite of on-line activities!


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

-woodyoak, thanks so much for your input on blogging!

That was another slight concern on my part- how much time blogging might suck away from doing other things. It's not so much of an issue in winter when my time is my own, but in spring/summer things are hectic at the nursery and then I have my own garden to contend with on my day(s) off.

I wouldn't want blogging to be a time-sucker! Lol. Especially if it meant taking away from actually gardening.

Not to worry! I have too much fun talking plants with you guys to ever leave the forums ;-D
CMK


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

'Blazing Sunset' geums are in my mailbox red bed. We generally have frozen ground all winter with with good snow cover. This bed gets covered with a huge pile of snow from cleaning the driveway. That pile is there until March and melts slowly. I checked the divisions today which look nicely sized after a summers growth.

Thanks for the suggestion to plant 'Cooky' with blue bloomers to tone down the orange. For years I gave away orange bloomers but decided last spring that it is time to add some punch to my mostly pastel gardens.


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

For the first time in my new little garden, I tried a geum this year. I stuck to that old stalwart Mrs Bradshaw to see how it liked it here. I was very pleased with the result.
It started flowering in early May and was still flowering in the heat of late July.
They were very small plants when I planted them. I wasn't even sure that they would flower at all in the first year, but flower they did.
A self seeded Lychnis coronaria flowered with them, which meant I needed my sunglasses on when looking at them!

may 2013 036 - Copy

may 2013 043 - Copy

I have ordered Geum Rubin and Firestorm to try. They should be arriving next week.
Unlike you Christinmk, here in the Mediterranean Sea, I will be sticking to those geums with some chiloense in their heritage. I grew Geum rivale and coccineum hybrids when I lived in England and loved them. It was great seeing your photos. Do you have any more we can enjoy?
Daisy


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Thanks for this post. Like Kevin, I treasure the information given by other gardeners from hands-on experience and like seeing what the plants look like in a real garden.

I stayed away from these for a long time because of hardiness issues, but I did plant prairie smoke a couple of years ago. It is struggling a bit, whether due to voles, too much moisture or too rich soil, I am not sure. With our warmer winters and some hardier varieties than Mrs. Bradshaw, I think I have some additional choices I can try.

I saw T2D's this spring, and it is good to know it is still blooming. I really like the color of hers and the way the flowers stand above the foliage.

I think I'll have to look into getting some of these, particularly the coccineum x rivale hybrids.


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

-Daisy, I bet that purple sage of yours was a nice combo with the red Geum! That's about the extent of my Geum pics...but next year I'll try and get more. Maybe a few from further back...

-nhbabs, glad you found it helpful ;-) That's why GW is so valuable- it gives us a place to share REAL info and not have to rely on skewed catalog blurbs!
CMK


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Wonderfully organized post CMK. I have learned a lot.

This year I picked up 'Totally Tangerine' and so far that is a winner too. Taller and a blooming powerhouse

I agree with this for sure. Quite tall when including the flowers and very floriferous. (I did not know that it could be productive in more shade...good to know).

I guess I was under the impression that this geum (all geums?) would rebloom after that initial spring flush? But my TT has never done this.

(I have provided a link which does include a picture of mine from a couple of summers ago)

Here is a link that might be useful: My Tangerine from 2012


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RE: my little Geum obsession....

Beautiful photos. No success with any except for one that is totally wonderful for me. Geum boresii or 'King Boris' was introduced here over 20 years ago. All the other wonderful sorts never get to the next year. And its foliage is evergreen. Cannot say if the others are from my experience and would have to look that info. up.


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