Sunday, March 29, 2020

2020 The Tree Peony and the Honey Bee


Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

I'm not sure who was more eager to see this tree peony open - me or the honey bee! We finally got some sunshine after days and days of rain and cloudiness, and boy was I thankful for it! So was this bee apparently, since the sun helped open up all of these flowers in bud. This tree peony is a seedling I grew from some seed I purchased on Ebay, 2013 P. Rockii Peony Seeds from Cricket Hill Garden. I guess this would be considered a semi-double bloom since it has more than a single row of petals. It sure is gorgeous, and I just love those purple flares in the center of the flower!! I will definitely be labeling this one so that I remember to move it this fall out of the seedling bed fall and into my garden! :-)


Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee


Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

I'm sure the honey bees will be happy to have more flowers in the garden each year. I do know of one peony grower in Canada that also likes peonies & bees - Blossom Hill Nursery. They have their own hives, make their own honey, and lots of other products with the wax. I am just so grateful to see the bees here in my garden. I know that bees have been having a hard time. I hope that bees are able to recover. I also hope that we can all do our part to reduce our dependence on harmful chemicals and try to make each of our individual garden spaces bee friendly. Bees are our friends, let's make them welcome! :-)


Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

Saturday, March 28, 2020

2020 Peony Blooms Week 1 Very Early


Peony 'Early Scout'

The only 2 named peony varieties to bloom this week in Week 1 were Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' and Peony 'Early Scout'. Since our bloom season started so early this year (almost a week earlier than any other year recorded in the last 15 years!), not many peonies have had the oppotunity to grow, much less bloom. There are several other tree peonies waiting to bloom, and with this 80 degree weather we had today and will have again tomorrow, many of them will likely melt! That's how it usually goes here in NC - from winter to summer in 1 week flat! LOL Let's hope we get a little bit more temperate spring weather this season. Looks like we'll have some days with highs in the 50s next week - here we go again!!! I hope your start to spring and the peony bloom season is coming along nicely. Welcome spring!!! :-)


Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'

Friday, March 27, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony Calendar

I just got this calendar in the mail. Okay, well, I guess i hadn't opened my mail since last month... (don't tell). When I did get to this envelope last week, I set it aside figuring it was something else. When I went to open it today, I got this nice surprise! I must say the Intersectional Peony 'Impossible Dream' is my favorite intersectional peony in the whole calendar. I am still looking for a source for that one (after one failed attempt at purchasing it on Ebay, 2018 Ebay Peony Seller Reviews). I can't seem to find it anywhere! If anyone knows of a source for that Intersectional Peony 'Impossible Dream', please let me know! I think I may have a way to get an Intersectional Peony 'All That Jazz' (more on that later...), and I don't know what the name of Mr. November is, but I certainly would like to find out! ;-)


2020 Intersectional Peony Calendar


Intersectional Peony 'All That Jazz'


Intersectional Peony 'Impossible Dream'


Intersectional Peony

Thursday, March 26, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony Seedling Pops Up!


Intersectional Peony Seedling Pops Up! (3/19)

Every year I get nervous waiting for my intersectional peony seedlings to pop up. The first one popped up on 3/19 this year! Finally! The rest of them have not shown up yet. So I'm still a little nervous - wondering if a critter got to them, a disease, or perhaps the weather. Who knows? For now it is still a waiting game to see when or if the rest of them will show up. Hopefully they do. When I looked back, it seems like the intersectional peony seedings didn't show up until almost mid April last year (4/10), 2019 I Finally DID IT! My First Intersectional Peony Seedling-s!. So I guess this lone seedling popped up early, and I'm guessing the others will show up when they feel like it (sometime next month).


Intersectional Peony Seedling Sign
'Martha W.' X Nate Bremer's Rainbow

This particular seedling is a cross of Peony 'Martha W.' and what I've nicknamed Nate Bremer's Rainbow. Nate was kind enough to allow people to collect pollen from his gorgeous tree peony garden when the APS convention came to tour it in 2016. I was not prepared so was gifted a few envelopes to collect pollen from Don Smith. Since I didn't have enough envelopes to collect the tree peony pollen all separately, I put several different varieties of pollen from Nate's garden in an envelope and labeled it "Nate Bremer's Rainbow" (since I put so many different colorful tree peony pollens in it). If you'd like to know more about Nate and his hybridizing program, check out our interview with him, 2016 Peony Hybridizer Interview - Nate Bremer.


Intersectional Peony Seedling Pops Up! (3/26)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2020 How to Tell if Your Tree Peony is Happy!


Tree Peony Paeonia Ostii

Not sure if your tree peony is happy? Does it seem to be growing leaves each year, but no flowers? Does it still just have 1 or 2 stems? If so your tree peony might not be very happy. There's a saying that says tree peonies don't like to be moved, which is probably true for very mature and established tree peonies that are quite large shrubs. However if your tree peony isn't happy, moving it is probably a good idea. If you can't tell if your tree peony is happy, here's a little secret to help you figure it out. Check out the base of your tree peony. Do you see any new growth popping up from the base of it? Not just leaves - but new stems!


Tree Peony 'Shimadaijin'

These new stems won't be woody. They will be fleshy and coming up from the dirt/mulch/base of the plant. The new stems will eventually become woody (by the next year), but when they first come up, they look very herbaceous. Now the appearance and the coloring of these new stems may look different on each tree peony variety. Some new stems may be red, some may be purple, some may be green, and many may exhibit a combination of these colors. The important thing to note is do you have new stems coming up from the base of the tree peony plant? If you don't and you haven't for more than 2-3 years, then your tree peony is not happy. It is not becoming established in the area you've planted it. Now part of it could be the planting location, but there are many reasons your tree peony might not be happy.


Tree Peony 'Sahohime'

If your tree peony isn't happy after 2-3 years (and it is still alive), I would recommend moving it. If it does not become established, it will eventually die. Where to move your tree peony? Examine the area it's planted in now. Does it receive enough sun? Does it have even moisture throughout the year? Is it planted deeply enough? The biggest keys to making sure your tree peony will grow and establish itself in the landscape are: sun, moisture, and stem access to soil. Let's talk about each of these 3 areas.


Tree Peony 'Yao Huang'

1. Sun - Tree Peonies like a sunny location in the garden, they can take a small amount of shade, but ideally you don't want too much competition from large trees. So sunnier is better. Partially shaded or sheltered by a structure for half the day, like the side of a house, a pergola, a fence, etc. may be beneficial.

2. Moisture - Tree peonies like even moisture, but not too much moisture. The soil should be well draining and rich in nutrients. Planting near a structure also helps conserve soil moisture.

3. Stem Access to Soil - This is most important if you are purchasing a named tree peony variety. (If you are growing tree peonies from seed, you can ignore this one.) Most tree peonies sold today are grafted. (Maybe one day they'll be clones growing on their own roots!) Grafted means you cut a stem from an existing tree peony, and merge it with the root of a different peony (usually an herbacoeous peony). Since most tree peonies sold commercially are grafted, it is really important that a large part of the stem section of the tree peony be planted under the soil. This will give the tree peony the opportunity to grow its own roots - which is really important for helping the tree peony become established.


Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'

So if you do decide your tree peony isn't happy and decide to move your tree peony, make sure to take into account those three things when replanting it. Try to give your tree peony "the best spot in the garden" not some off to the side, right next to a tree trunk kind of spot. Also it wouldn't hurt to mix in a cup of organic fertilizer into the soil while you are replanting it - and remember - plant it deep! Way deeper than you think. Most people probably try to plant their tree peony with the "roots" underground and the "stem" above ground. I would say you really want to plant it with about half of the stem underground (about 3-4 inches). You really want some of those "buds" on your tree peony stem to be undergound and some to be above ground.


Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'

Once you've gotten your tree peony "happy", it will go from just a couple stems to more stems than you can count - like these last 2 photos of Tree Peony 'Angel Emily', which I highly reccommend. Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' is an American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner and a Southern Peony Best Performer! :-)