Portland's climate makes it ideal for growing perennials. Really, they take off like nobody's business...next thing you know, you are throwing them steak and running for cover. In nearby Canby, there are like 500 nurseries that sell to the trade... Terranova, one of the nation's best heuchera hybridizers and growers and Swan Island Dahlias, the absolute best for dahlias of all kinds are both located there.
I think it is the combination of extremely mild weather, lots of moisture and 16 hours a day of sun in the summer that leads to the overachievement of my fine petaled friends. In fact, when buying plants, the growing guidelines for size are almost never accurate for the Pacific Northwest.
Yet somehow, I refuse to accept that. I don't know if I am in denial or simply unobservant, but I continue to read those tags as if they are a good guide for spacing and locating my plants. Which is how I ended up with a geum the size of Manhattan at the front of my flower border.
Mrs. Bradshaw is a very popular Geum. Chances are good that you have seen it before. And, when growing it in other parts of the country, the upper range for this lovely is 24 inches. That would have been perfect, had it been true, for the front of my bed. Because really, it is the long flower stems that reach the tallest heights, making it somewhat transparent in the upper 2/3rds of the plant.
But Mrs. Bradshaw was so happy in her new home here that she shot up an extra half a foot, at least. Not to mention the spread around her circumfrence (and no jokes about the spread of my circumfrence, please). So I have ended up with this monsterous Geum exactly where it shouldn't be...with another one just like it sitting right next to it.
I suppose I should be pleased with the performance and the prospect of dividing these beauties and transplanting for more Geum joy...yet, I remain slightly disgruntled at the thought of having to move them due to my blind acceptance of planting information as solid fact. Maybe I next time, I will think better of my perennials and remember their tendency to overtake all that surrounds them...