'Lady Stratheden' Chilean Avens;
or, Goldball Geum
"Nature is painting for us,
day after day,
pictures of infinite beauty."
-James Russell Lowell
Geum chiloense (formerly G. quellyon) 'Lady Stratheden' aka 'Goldball' is a classic cottage garden pernennial with semi-double brightest yellow flowers.
It blooms as early as May & certainly by June lasting into August easily, & with deadheading can rebloom as late as October. The flowers rise high above the basal leaves on slender stems eighteen inches to two feet, excellent for cut flowers.
The basal leaves form a thick clump to eighteen inches wiide. Leaves form hairy rosettes in very pretty clumps which on Puget Sound are semi-evergreen. It likes full sun in organically rich, moderately well-watered, sharply draining soil. Large old clump can be divided spring or autumn.
If grown from seeds or seedlings, they can take three years to be mature enough to produce flowers in great quantity. As a slow grower it may not need autumn or spring division until its fifth year, though thereafter the clumps may require division as often as every second or third year, lest clumps begin to tire & bloom poorly.
It's ideal for zones 7 & for zone 8 if it gets some protection at the very height of summer. Though it is apt to be much more shortlived in areas with very hot summers or very cold winters, it is not unreasonable to give it a try down to Zone 5.
This cultivar is named for Mary Elizabeth Scarlett (1796-1860), the 1st Baroness Stratheden (Lady Strathedon & Campbell) in Scotland. It's frequently sold alongside the fiery semi-double 'Mrs. Bradshaw' as they are practically twins one red one yellow. Many named geums grow true to the parent only from cuttings, but 'Mrs. Bradshaw' & 'Lady Strathendon' can be very successfully seed-grown.
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