Friday, May 10, 2019

2019 Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Has a Hard Time with Wilt from Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus

I keep thinking it's going to get better, but it's not. I've had this peony 'Many Happy Returns' for several years - since 2007 to be exact, so 12 years almost. Almost every year it is diseased, with wavy stems, stunted growth, and spots. Somehow it still manages to bloom most every year. Don't get me wrong sometimes it has okay years, but most of the time is doesn't. That's why this peony can never be a Southern Peony Best Performer because I mean, come one, who really wants a peony with wavy stems (and sometimes wavy foliage too)? I'm not sure if the fungus will ever kill this plant or not, but I don't think it will ever be pretty unless you spray it (and I don't spray anything for fungus in my garden). What you see is what you get. Luckily this is the only plant in my garden with this problem. Good thing there are several other red cultivars to choose from that don't have this issue.


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus

Thursday, May 9, 2019

2010 Too Much Rain Rots Herbaceous Peony Blooms


Peony 'Bowl of Cream' Rotten Bloom

I've never seen anything quite like this before. Usually the buds and blooms on herbaceous peonies get busted or die way before they start to open. These buds on Peony 'Bowl of Cream' and Peony 'Kansas' made it pretty much all the way to open, but the seemingly endless rain we've had this year seems to have badly rotted some buds that started to open in the rain. I'm not sure if this is some kind of disease or blight or really just rotting from too much water. Luckily this only happened on one bloom on each of these plants. So it's definitely not systemic. My guess is these peonies will be back to normal next year (provided Mother Nature pulls back on the rain a bit!) Let's see...


Peony 'Kansas' Rotten Bloom

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

2019 Peony 'Smith Family Yellow' Best Performer - Week 5


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer

It didn't take long for this beauty to get to be a full sized magnificent plant. I first planted this Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow' in 2015, and it has grown rapidly ever since. This peony was hybridized by Don Smith, and he even mentions it as being one of his most popular with the public in my interview with him, 2016 Peony Hybridizer Interview - Don R. Smith. It was registered in 2002. So it's actually a pretty new peony to the market. I know that Peony 'Bartzella' is the gold (pun intended) standard of intersectional peonies, but this one is a little better to me. There is less red in the blooms, and the petals are a bit more regular and rounded. Each ones of the blooms is like a bright yellow sunshine on the bush. The blooms cover the bush well on all sides, and the bright yellow blooms of this peony just lift you up and make you feel sunny! It looks like there are 2 vendors offering it for sale this year (at the same price point I bought it for in 2015), 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List. I'm sad to say it hasn't come down in price at all since I bought it 4 years ago, but it is worth every penny!


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2019 Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' Update


Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' from Ebay, in Bud

Since so many people have been asking me about that Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' root I bought on Ebay, I decided I should write an update about her. There were several comments on the article I wrote about purchasing this peony on Ebay, 2015 Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' on Ebay, wanting to know the status of this plant. I must say I was excited to see its first bud developing this year. This peony took quite a while to get to blooming size, but it finally made it. I was so ready and full of anticipation for it to open. After all these years of waiting, the moment of truth had finally arrived!


Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' from Ebay, Old Bloom

I did actually capture a photo of it in bud one evening last week. However I totally missed it opening the next day. (Pesky work, what's it good for?! LOL) By the time I had a chance to snap another photo of it 3 days later, there wasn't much left of it, and not much color either. Judging by the color of the bud that was just about to open, though, it looks like this peony is probably the correct cultivar. Sometimes the first bloom on a plant is not very indicative of what a full sized plant's bloom may look like. So it's quite possible that the blooms on this plant will have more petals next year. I guess I will have to reserve making a final judgement on the positive identification of this plant, but so far the prognosis looks good!

Monday, May 6, 2019

2019 Peony 'Festiva Maxima' First Bouquet of the Season


Peony 'Festiva Maxima'

I couldn't help but pick these last week when I arrived home one day. They were spilling over into my driveway, and I really didn't want to run into them. I'm so glad I brought them inside. They perfumed the entire downstairs of my house for days. If you don't grow Peony 'Festiva Maxima', you really should. This peony blooms like crazy with over 100 blooms on each of the plants planted by my mailbox. I have divided this peony several times, given several roots to friends and family, and it just keeps coming back even bigger! It grows like a weed down here, and it smells so lovely, with a sweet rose-like scent. If you do grow it, don't forget to bring a few indoors to enjoy their beauty and perfume inside!


Peony 'Festiva Maxima'