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April's plant of the month at suburban-garden is the ethereal Geum 'Bell Bank'. Copper-pink petals that turn paler with time form wavy-edged rosettes and bob up and down on slender stems. But do not be deceived. This geum is vigourous both in terms of spread and hardiness.

Quick facts

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Geum 'Bell Bank' is more suited to a woodland type environment with rich and moisture retentive soil. This one in particular needs to be kept cold otherwise it ‘sulks’ leaving it susceptible to mildew and shrinkage. Anyone with clay soil may find it easier to plant geums in pots full of rich compost and sand to aid drainage.

 

Plants benefit from division every three years and should repeat flower, at intervals throughout the summer, if flower heads are cut back after spring. Geum 'Bell Bank' is the perfect replacement once other woodland type plants have disappeared and can be used to great effect in cottage garden schemes.

 

It is not worth thinking about that this small yet flamboyant plant, originally raised by TV presenter Geoffrey Smith, was almost lost until it was rediscovered in the 1990s by Dove Cottage Nursery.

Archive

Family: Rosaceae

Average height: 0.3 - 0.6m

Average spread: 0.4m

Flowers between: Apr - Jun

Soil type: fertile

Sun/shade: Full sun/partial shade

Hardiness: Hardy

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