Geum 'Mrs Bradshaw': an often over-looked star of a mixed planting border
Often over-looked in favour of more ‘glamorous’ plants, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ is a real star of a mixed planting scheme. Providing simple but very pretty flowers over a prolonged period, it is a wonderfully attractive and versatile plant and it features in the vast majority of the the planting plans that I design for our customers.
A clump-forming perennial, G. ‘Mrs Bradshaw.’ has mid-green, scalloped leaves that are slightly reminiscent, in my view at least, of those of a common dandelion. It has mid-sized scarlet coloured flowers with lovely yellow centres. These flowers are borne on slender stems which can rise to a height of as much as 50cm+, and this makes it a perfect plant for adding mid-level height and splashes of rich colour as part of a mixed scheme.
It offers movement as well, as the flower stems 'dance' delicately in the warm summer breeze, only requiring staking in very exposed positions. Geum ‘Mrs B.’ comes into flower with abundance in May, and usually provides great value by continuing to perform enthusiastically until the very end of the summer.
Although it will grow happily in most conditions, Geum ‘Mrs B.’ performs most enthusiastically in well-drained and sunny locations. With very little care it will repeat the display year after year, but as with many perennials it is often worth dividing established clumps every few years to encourage new, more vigorous growth. Dead-heading spent blooms isn’t essential, but it can help to further extend the flowering season if done regularly throughout the summer.
As for companion planting, I love to use Geum ‘Mrs B.’ alongside plants with contrasting foliage or growth habits. Geranium ‘Johnson's Blue’, for example, has warm blue flowers and domes of smaller leaves. It sits happily next to Geum ‘Mrs B.’ and both are wonderful when planted in clusters or dotted throughout a border.
For a more striking contrast, Euphorbia ‘Purpurea’ also works well next to Geum ‘Mrs B.’ It has lovely dark green to purple leaves and stems, and clusters of tiny acid green flowers in early summer. It is a combination that never fails to delight. For another winning combination, it’s worth considering Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’- a spectacularly sunny yellow-flowered day lily.
So, there we are. One of the most under-rated stars of a mixed border, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ is one of my ‘go to’ plants whenever I design a new planting scheme. If you haven’t got it in your garden I really would urge you to introduce it this May. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
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