1 – 7 June 2020

Geums and Dog Roses

Geums and Dog Roses are looking lovely in early June, in our garden in Scotland. 

Close-up of a red Geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' flower with shallow depth of focus

Red Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ flowers

Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’

I love Geums! Three years ago, Thompson & Morgan ran an offer in Gardener’s World Magazine for a free perennial plant collection, which included Geums. I took advantage of the offer, and though I had no idea what a Geum was, have loved them ever since. They do so well in our garden and are evergreen through the winter and snow.

Geums, also called Avens, are hardy perennials that like moisture, and flower year after year. In our garden in Scotland, our Geums are planted in sunny spots in the garden and they flower from late Spring to early Summer. The Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ plants that we grow have bright red flowers, each around 4-5cm wide.

Great Cut Flowers

Buds and red flowers of Geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' plant

Buds and red flowers of Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ plant with wiry upright stems

The tough, wiry flower stems of Geums mostly don’t need staking. That really helps, as I’m not very good at staking… Their long, tough stems make them great for cut flowers. Each flower doesn’t last very long, either in the vase or on the plant, but buds will continue to open after the main flower on each stem has gone over.

Clouds of flowers are held high above the leaves, with the plants growing to 60 cm tall, including the flower stems. And each flower stem holds two or three flowers, that open one after the other.

How To Grow Geums

After flowering, the flowering stems can be cut back or left for the spikey seed pods to ripen. Deadheading the spent flowers keeps them flowering for longer, but you may wish to collect the seeds to increase your collection of Geum plants.

You can also propagate Geums by dividing the clumps. It’s best to divide the clumps every two to four years anyway so that the plants don’t die. In the early Spring or the Autumn, dig up clumps where you can see multiple plants growing together, and pull apart the individual plants. Plant them back in the garden with a spacing of around 60 cm between plants.

Before planting Geums in your garden, add some compost or well-rotted farmyard manure to the planting area.

To care for your Geum plants, remove the old, dead leaves from the base of the plant in the Spring, as the new leaves grow from the top of the plant. Add some compost, well-rotted farmyard manure or chicken manure pellets to the soil surface. By doing this, you will help to feed the soil, and your plants, during the year.

White Dog Rose

Close-up of Single-petalled White Dog Rose flowers

Single-petalled white Dog Rose flowers are great for pollinators

Our Dog Rose, or wild rose, was already in our garden when we bought our house, so I’m not sure of the variety. It has white, single-petalled flowers that are very delicately scented and it has small leaves.

The Dog Rose is a hardy, deciduous shrub. Ours is around 80cm tall at the moment and grows in a dry, sunny spot just under a large privet hedge. It has been pretty much neglected.

A couple of years ago, we accidentally pruned our Dog Rose in the summer, while we cut the hedge.  The poor rose didn’t flower the following year. It might have been OK with the pruning it got that March, but the double pruning definitely set it back.

Single-petalled White Dog Rose bush

Single-petalled white Dog Rosebush

This year, our rose looks really happy and is covered in flowers that the bumblebees love.

For more articles about our favourite plants, please click on Plant of The Moment.

Thanks for visiting!