Geum, Avens ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’

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Category:

Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Smooth

Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Spacing:

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us

Danger:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Color:

Red

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Sitka, Alaska

Alameda, California

Long Beach, California

Merced, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Milford, Delaware

Roswell, Georgia

Lewiston, Idaho

Chicago, Illinois(2 reports)

Hazel Crest, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Fishers, Indiana

Greenville, Indiana

Inwood, Iowa

South China, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Salem, Massachusetts

Grayling, Michigan

Ely, Minnesota

Rosemount, Minnesota

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Reno, Nevada

Edgewood, New Mexico

Buffalo, New York

Defiance, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

WALTERVILLE, Oregon

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Honesdale, Pennsylvania

Rochester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Ogden, Utah

Kalama, Washington

Spokane, Washington(2 reports)

Vancouver, Washington(2 reports)

Cameron, Wisconsin

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Some plants just have everything that a gardener could require: good looks, long flowering season, trouble-free personality and hardiness. One plant that is quite unfairly ignored is Geum ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’.
From a distance, the flowers look like strong red blotches suspended above the ground. The semi-double flowers, each 5cm (2in) wide are a clear deep-scarlet colour, enhanced by yellow stamens.
The flowers come in a tremendous flush in May and June but continue to appear for most of the summer. This capacity to flower for a long time makes the geum an excellent anchorage plant, unifying a planting scheme consisting of more ephemeral flowers.
Mrs J. Bradshaw is one of the chiloense types which originally came from the island of Chiloe off the coast of Chile and was introduced in 1921.
It is frequently sold alongside the golden-yellow semi-double ‘Lady Strathedon’ as they are practically twins, one red, one yellow. Many named geums grow true to the parent only from cuttings, but ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’ & ‘Lady Strathedon’ can be very successfully seed-grown.
In 1909 Geum chiloense “Mrs J. Bradshaw” was awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Sowing:
Sow in late summer/autumn or late winter/late spring
Sow at 18 to 22°C (65 to 70°F) in a well drained compost mix. Cover with vermiculite. Water from the base of the tray, keeping the compost moist but not wet at all times. Germination should in 21 to 28 days but is occasionally a little longer.
Prick out each seedling once it has its first set of true leaves, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays containing a peaty soil. Grow on under glass. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out in spring. Plant 40cm (15in) apart.

Cultivation:
Geums tend to have a mound of foliage and flowers either on spikes or just above the foliage so place them at the front of the border. The colours are to some extent all on the warm side of the colour wheel so they associate well with other warm and hot colours.
Geums like a fertile soil enriched with well-rotted organic matter which won’t dry out too much in summer. Position in either full sun or light shade suits them.
Most Geums first flush of flower is late spring to early summer. Keep well watered and deadhead by removing the spent flower stems at their base. This encourages more flower production.
Geums will remain evergreen through winter but the old leaves become brown by the end of winter and make the plants look scruffy. You can give the plants a good haircut in late winter or pull off old leaves.
They are tolerant of pests and diseases and only need to be staked in very exposed conditions. In very dry conditions some Geums may be slightly affected by powdery mildew. If it bothers you cut off all the mature leaves keeping the small, new ones starting to grow from the base.

Division:
Congested colonies can be lifted and divided every three years to maintain flower vigour, otherwise the middle becomes exposed and the plant declines and dies out. If divided regularly they perform for years.
The easiest time to divide is in early autumn. Break off pieces and replant or pot up, but do not let divisions dry out. Division can also be done in spring.

Plant Uses:
Cottage/Informal Gardens or Flowers Borders and Beds, Cut Flowers.

Origin:
Geum quellyon, commonly called Scarlet avens. Chilean avens, or Grecian rose, is a perennial herb of the Rosaceae family, native to the Central Region of Chile. It is commonly cultivated as a garden ornamental, and in that context is sometimes called Geum chiloense.
There are about fifty species in the genus Geum, and they are all herbaceous perennials. They places of origin are widely scattered: in Europe, the Americas, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa.
The summer-flowering chiloense hybrids come from a cold, wet climate in Chiloé, the second largest island in Chile. They need cool, moist soil. The two most popular chiloense types are the red ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ (1909) and yellow ‘Lady Stratheden’ (1921) both come true from seed, something most geums cannot do.

Nomenclature:
Pronounced JEE-um kock-SIN-ee-um. The word geum comes from the Greek and means ‘to give flavour or relish’. Since Roman times the plant has been used for flavouring food and drink.
The species name chiloense refers to the island of Chiloe which is situated off the coast of Chile.
The common name of Avens derives from Middle English avence, from Old French, from Medieval Latin avencia. The meaning of which is unclear but it is thought to refer to Geum urbanum as ‘a kind of clover’.

Sue Martin, the National Plant Collection Holder – explained the origins of its name:

John (Jack) Bradshaw, and Kathleen (who was his cousin and wife) lived at The Grove, Southgate in north London. John Bradshaw was a keen gardener and was friendly with Amos Perry who had a nursery, Perry’s Hardy Plant Farm, at Enfield.
Early in the 1900s Amos Perry gave the Bradshaw’s gardener, George Whitelegg, (who later had a famous nursery himself), a box of geum seedlings. George Whitelegg noticed that one was particularly good and named it after his employer’s wife, Mrs J. Bradshaw.
The plant won an Award of Merit from the RHS in 1909. Mrs Bradshaw died in 1928.”

The National Collection:
Sue Martin holds the National Collection of Geum, of which there are over a hundred different cultivars, hybrids, varieties and species. The garden, at Cranbook in Kent is open on selective days in May.
If you would like to visit please telephone first – 0044 (0)1580 852425.

Plant Finder

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens flowers

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens in bloom

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height: 12 inches

Flower Height: 24 inches

Spacing: 10 inches

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 3b

Other Names: Chilean Avens, Double Bloody Mary Geum

Ornamental Features

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens has scarlet flowers with yellow anthers at the ends of the stems from late spring to mid summer, which are interesting on close inspection. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its tomentose lobed leaves remain green in colour throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens is an herbaceous perennial with tall flower stalks held atop a low mound of foliage. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity extending to 24 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 12 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 3 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Mrs. Bradshaw Avens is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

How to grow: Geum ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’

The geum most usually associated with this one is G. ‘Lady Stratheden’, which has semi-double, pure-yellow flowers. There are also a number of bright-orange geums on the market, in particular ‘Dolly North’ and ‘Fire Opal’, as well as the shorter-stemmed ‘Georgenburg’, ‘Coppertone’ and Geum ‘Borisii’. Other attractive plants available include some selections of the Water Avens, Geum rivale, in particular ‘Leonard’s Variety’ and ‘Cream Drop’.

Growing tips

Geums like a fertile soil enriched with well-rotted organic matter which won’t dry out too much in summer. A position in either full sun or light shade suits them. Place them towards the front of the border since you can see through their flower stems to plants behind. They should be divided from time to time to keep them from dying out; this is done either in autumn or early spring. Alternatively, since ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ and ‘Lady Stratheden’ invariably come from seed they can be propagated easily if sown in autumn in a tray and put in a cold frame to overwinter.

Generally, geums do not suffer from pest or disease damage, although occasionally the leaves are chewed by sawfly larvae. The remedy, as with gooseberries, is derris, sprayed when the damage is first spotted.

Good companions

For myself, I would rather not put ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ together with ‘Lady Stratheden’, tempting as it is, since they flower at the same time. The mix of clear red and bright yellow is too blatant, too reminiscent of mass municipal plantings of tulips. Instead, for a warm association in early summer, put ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ with one of the more orange cultivars, such as Geum ‘Georgenburg’ or, better still, with Euphorbia griffithii ‘Dixter’, whose orange flower-bracts and copper-bronze foliage tone very well, and whose habit is more solid than that of the geum.

This plant also looks very good, particularly when it first flowers, with the wallflower Cheiranthus ‘Blood Red’, and later with the scarlet Lychnis chalcedonica and the purple-leaved, red-flowered Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’. Phormium tenax ‘Purpurea’ provides both contrast in leaf shape and habit, as well as a satisfyingly sumptuous harmony of colours. If you want to play safe, combine ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ with Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’, which has similar flowers but grey-green leaves and a more compact habit.

Where to buy

For publishers wishing to reproduce photographs on this page please phone 44 (0) 207 538 7505 or email [email protected]

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