Blazing Sunset

'Blazing Sunset'
Chilean Avens; aka,
Double Bloody Mary Geum

"Maidens, kilt your skirts & go
Down the stormy garden-ways."

-Agnes Mary Frances Darmesteter


Double or semi-double vermillion flowers of 'Blazing Sunset' or golden doubles of 'Lady Stratheden' are half again as large as most hybrids of Geum quellyon (formerly G. chiloense).

The size & persistence of the blooms makes 'Blazing Sunset' a superior choice for any garden from which cuttings will be taken for bouquets.

It is a 1998 recipient of the Fleuroselect Quality Mark Certificate of Merit, given by the European & international flower breeders organization Fleuroselect which field tests & passes judgement on new varieties.

Blazing SunsetSingle geums have ruffly saucer-like flowers, but this is variant, being G. quellyon var flora plena or many-petalled, possessing half-globe balls of petals.

It flowers ahead of most geums, as early as May, & is certainly in full flower by June, with rebloom throughout summer & into Autumn, especially if it is deadheaded now & then.

It clumps to a foot or a foot & a half high, & even when not in bloom provides a large lovely ball of foliage until deep into autumn & much of winter, as shown in foliage photo third on this page, snapped in autumn.

The clump can be divided every two or three years, though if started as seedlings they can take two or three years to mature enough to bloom really well, & won't need division until a couple years after maturity.

Blazing SunsetGardenable at a stretch in USDA zones 3 through 9, it is best for zones 5 through 7, & even our mild zone 8 can be a little warm for it at high summer. It is in general only half hardy, & may die out of the garden in a few years, especially if subjected to winter dampness. But our 'Blazing Sunset' has returned year after year without sign of slowing down. It has an ideal sunny location on a hilled garden that has good drainage in winter.

'Blazing Sunset' is semi-evergreen with a winter presence when grown on Puget Sound. By January or nearer winter's end the foliage turns a chocolatey plum-red color (you can see this leaf color on one of the crocus pages, intruding into the top portrait of Crocus chrysanthus 'Gypsy Girl'). It wants moist perfectly draining humousy soil in dappled sunlight to full sun. In warmer & more humid climates it will need some shade without crowding.

The species from which this cultivar was developed is native of Chile. The species is longer-lived than its cultivars, but also slower to establish & bloom well. The fancy cultivars really are much improved for bloom power.


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