It’s not often we see a new hybrid between two different Pelargonium species, and the fact that this newcomer has been thirty years in the making, on two continents, perhaps tells us why.
Yellow-flowered 'Rushmoor Amazon' is the first of a dozen new introductions in the Rushmoor River Series which mainly combine genes from the familiar “geranium”, Pelargonium zonale, and P. arcticum which is a rather succulent, creamy yellow flowered, tuberous-rooted species from the Karoo in South Africa. As a group, these plants are known as zonarctics.
The aim was to transfer the flower colour of P. arcticum into familiar garden pelargoniums while eliminating its deciduous foliage and succulent tendencies.
But first Cliff Blackman in Australia and then Steve Pledger in Britain have worked diligently on this for many years since raising the first hybrid seedling in 1986.
'Rushmoor Amazon' has pink-flecked, yellow, semi-double, 5-7cm flowers that held on longer than usual stems giving an unusually open and relaxed head of bloom. Breeder Cliff Blackman says: “One of the more interesting outcomes has been the appeal of the flower forms and colours. Their longer pedicels can give a more open form of inflorescence, also the unusually long flower stem and their lasting quality has made some suitable for use as cut flowers.”
We've seen pelargoniums with more or less yellow flowers before, none entirely successul, but this is the first with this background.
Eleven more varieties in the Rushmoor River Series have also been introduced, with flowers in white, cream, pale and rich yellows, peachy shades, pinks, oranges and reds. It’s only fair to say that they’re not as easy to grow as the more familiar types, but why not give them a try?
The first batch of 'Rushmoor Amazon' and the other varieties in the series, is already sold out but more will be available in summer. Make a note on your calendar to place an order.
Pelargonium ‘Rushmoor Amazon’ all the other varieties in the Rushmoor River Series will be available again from RHS Master Growers, Stratford-upon-Avon based Fibrex Nurseries in August.
You can read about the early development of these plants on the Geraniaceae Group website.
Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS.