Posts Tagged ‘perennial’

Gentler geums

April 13th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Geum 'Totally Tangerine'

There are two geums that we seem to have been growing for ever: ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ (bright scarlet) and ‘Lady Stratheden’ (bright yellow). They’re prolific, tough as old boots and flower for months in most soils. But don’t you sometimes wish that there were varieties that were just as long flowering and prolific but that were, well, less bright?

Plant breeders around the world have got the message and have been crossing different species together to create varieties that are prolific, adaptable, long flowering and colourful – but in slightly softer shades.

From Holland comes ‘Flames of Passion’, developed by the renowned plantsman and garden designer Piet Oudolf, is red, but a richer and softer shade than ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’. ‘Mai Tai’, created by Illinois nurseryman Brent Horvath, is apricot with richer pink tints while, from British nurseryman Tim Crowther, ‘Totally Tangerine’ (above) is peachy pink with a rich dusting of gold that adds subtlety to its brightness.

All are sun lovers, all are tolerant of a wide variety of soils but are best in fertile conditions with good drainage, especially in winter. If you’re looking for a geum for wetter conditions, try the demure British native Geum rivale.

Regular dead-heading helps prolong their season and keeps the plants looking fresh and if you’d like to cut some for the house, they’ll last well. I recommend them.

Kudos for ‘Kudos’ agastache

March 2nd, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Agastache 'Kudos Coral', 'Kudos Mandarin' and 'Kudos Yellow'

One of the great things about getting to try new varieties before they appear in the catalogue is that I can grow them and report on them for you at ordering time. Step foreword the ‘Kudos’ agastache. These are superb.

The neat foliage is fragrant, the flowers start to open early (some had already developed their first buds when the young plants arrived), they were in full flower when still quite small and they bloomed more and more as the plants became established. Right through to the frosts.

One of the reasons that they looked so impressive for so long was this: the flowers are small and are produced in clusters at the leaf joints. But the flowers in each cluster open in a long succession so there are always open flowers all the way up the stem.

Also, the plants throw new stems from the base at the same time as the older stems are flowering so they become steadily more prolific. The bees love them, and they’re good for posies.

I’ve just been out to look closely at how well they’ve come through the winter – but of course they’re under the snow. But when I was tidying through last week I noticed that they’re all starting to develop new shoots at the base.

There are seven varieties in the Kudos Series, and Mr F have chosen the best three: ‘Kudos Coral’ has dark coral red plumes with a honey-mint fragrance to the foliage; ‘Kudos Mandarin’ is vivid mandarin orange with more citrus-flavoured foliage; ‘Kudos Yellow’ is a bright but soft yellow with, I thought, a touch of eucalyptus in the aroma. All thrived for me last year and I’m looking forward to some early flowers – once the snow passes and allows them to grow. Give them a try… Sun and reasonable drainage is all they need.