Continuing my focus on some of the more popular finalists in this year’s Chelsea Plant Of The Year award, Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’ caught the eye not only on the Plant Of The Year exhibit in the Great Pavilion but also on the exhibit from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.
‘Scarlet Tempest’ is a new and prolific hardy geum developed by Elizabeth MacGregor at her nursery in Kirkcudbright. Elizabeth, who raised the second winner of the Chelsea Plant Of The Year award, Anemone ‘Wild Swan’, back in 2011, told me about the plant.
“For us in Scotland, in the open ground,” she explained, “‘Scarlet Tempest’ comes into flower in late April and flowers profusely until mid June. It then has a short pause then produces strong flowering stems again from the base which continue on until autumn.
“The first flowers produced are very large, 6.5cm (2½in) across, later flowers, once a large number of stems are produced, are about 5.5cm (2in).
“I describe the colour as pale scarlet flushed peachy-orange. I am very familiar with pure orange geums such as 'Dolly North', 'Princes Juliana' and 'Firestorm' ... but Geum 'Scarlet Tempest' is much more red in colour. It is a sterile hybrid. I have found it to be much more floriferous than the above named hybrids.
“I crossed 'Beech House Apricot' and 'Red Dragon' and produced three seedlings, which are all very good with slight colour variations, though I am not sure if the others are different enough to name. 'Scarlet Tempest' was selected in June 2014. I have done a great deal of hybridising geums in the last few years and, subject to trialling, may introduce others ...but it is still early days for these.”
Demand for Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’ has been very strong, it will be available again soon from RHS Plants and Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.