Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Peony Winter Weather

The weather! It has been so cold all of a sudden, and it isn't even really winter quite yet. We had a pretty good snow that blanketed most surfaces besides the roads (thank goodness) with quite a coat of snow cover. I'm sure the peonies are loving the cold temperatures. I hope the new plantings and seeds have had enough time to get their roots growing or established and ready for the next growing season. The snow cover has melted now, but the temperatures are remaining quite low. Hopefully all of this cold weather will equal lots of blooms come spring!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2010 Peony Fall Foliage

Wow! I am really enjoying the beautiful fall foliage colors in some of the peonies. Peonies really are a wonderful plant that can provide several seasons of interest. They start with the wonderful colors of the emerging foliage in early spring, a rainbow of blooms in late spring, beautiful green foliage in summer, and awesome fall colored foliage in autumn! Here are some of the beautiful leaves I captured today...
Peony 'Walter Mains'
Peony 'Kansas'
Peony 'Seashell'
Peony 'Paul M. Wild'

Saturday, October 9, 2010

2010 APS Peony Seed Planting

I actually got all of my seeds planted that I purchased at the American Peony Society Convention this June. Usually the seeds I plant are from peony cultivars. I don't usually buy seeds, but this year I purchased several varieties of species peony seeds. I made plant labels for each seed type. I decided to plant them in a grid instead of rows, which is how I usually plant my seeds. I ordered them alphabetically in the grid in case the plant label is lost (hopefully not). These are the varieties that I planted: P. brownii, P. caucasica, P. mascula, P. mlokosewitschii, P. ostii, P. peregrine, P. rockii, P. tenuifolia, and P. veitchii. I don't currently have any of these except P. tenuifolia, which hasn't bloomed for me yet. So I am curious to see how these different species peonies will grow here in my southern climate.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2010 Fall Peony Planting

Today was a beautiful fall day. It went from burning hot summer to nice fall weather in one week. It will probably be winter next week! So it goes. I was actually able to plant my peonies today in the nice fall weather. I like to use Espoma Organic fertilizer and lime in my planting holes. The soil here is generally a bit acidic. So I add the lime to try to balance the PH of the soil. I am excited about the peonies I planted today. I'm not sure if any of them will bloom next spring, but the varieties are all ones I've had my eye on for quite some time. I didn't get any award winners this year, but I did get some nice varieties that have unique characteristics. Peony 'Rose Heart' is supposed to have a darker pink center. I am curious to see how that one will bloom here. Peony 'Goldilocks' is supposed to be a yellow herbaceous and Peony 'Etched Salmon' is supposed to be a salmon, which are not very common colors. I also planted Peony 'Pink Derby', which was awesome as a cut flower when on display at the APS convention this year, and Peony 'Athena', which is a replacement because the first one I had died out. I am hoping Peony 'Athena' will survive and thrive this time. Only time will tell...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 Live Plants - Peonies!

Wow! Guess what I got in the mail today. Live Plants! The order from one of the vendors came really fast. I guess I'll be planting peonies this weekend. I'm so excited. I can't believe how quickly the first order arrived. I just placed the order 2 weeks ago! I was able to get some fresh top soil put out to expand the peony seedling bed today. So I'll be planting seeds from the APS convention soon. Now I need to finish creating the garden labels for the plants. I just printed the labels for the peony variety names. Next I'll need to print labels for the seedlings. It is still raining here. Hopefully it will let up soon in time to plant peonies and peony seeds this weekend.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Peonies in the Rain

Wow! It's raining. September was shaping up to be the driest on record because we'd had little to no rain all month. I think the official measurement is 0.13 inches for the month. It looks like we've had 0.80 inches so far today, and it's still raining. I hope this helps the peonies. I don't really know what this drought is going to do to next year's blooms. Next spring the bud and stem counts are likely to be lower than they would have been. I was also hoping to plant peony seeds, but have delayed that since it has been so dry. Maybe now we'll be getting a steady supply of rain, and the seeds would actually sprout instead of dry up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 Fall Peony Orders

It's that time again, and I've waited a bit late this year. I'm sure I've missed some choice selections from some vendors. So I'm putting in my fall peony orders today. Here's a sampling of some of the varieties I'm ordering this year. I'm replacing Peony 'Athena' since the first one I had died out after a couple years. I'm going to pay a little closer attention to this one to see how well it grows in our climate. Peony 'Goldilocks' and Peony 'Etched Salmon' are both new to me and have both been on my 'Want' list for a while now. Peony 'Pink Derby' is also new to me. This one, though, I saw for the first time this year at the 2010 American Peony Society Convention in Janesville, Wisconsin. It was entered in several of the competitions, and it was just such an eye catching variety. I just had to have it! I'm also ordering a couple peonies for my Saunders' peony garden. I have a collection of peonies from Professor A. P. Saunders. I guess I'm partial to his hybrids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Peony Weeds

Well, it has been quite a wet summer since our dry spell at the very beginning of the summer. I am looking forward to next year's blooms already. With all of this rain, I'm thinking the peonies should have plenty of fuel to create next year's buds and store lots of energy in their roots for next year's blooms. With the rain come lots of competition, weeds! I use hardwood mulch as a weed deterrent on most of my peonies. I have a couple of beds that are just dirt which I have to hoe to keep the weeds out. I also use weed spray around the edges of the mulched beds. Without this I don't think there would be any way I could keep up! Even in the mulched beds some weeds still sprout. So I end up pulling these by hand. I got up a lot of these weeds yesterday, but they're still out there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 Peony Stem Counts

Wow! I just braved the midday 90+ degree heat (head index of 99 degrees) to start on my peony stem counts. This is going to have to be done a bit at a time because it is HOT out there! Counting the peony stems gives me a good idea of which peonies are growing and increasing well from year to year. It may also indicate whether they like their growing conditions. If they are not increasing well, they could have too much sun, too little sun, too little moisture, etc. Also it tells me which peonies I should be dividing this fall. I believe a good rule of thumb is if a peony has 7-8 stems or more, it is a good candidate for division. My intersectional peony 'Bartzella' actually increased from 10 stems last year to 17 stems this year, almost double!
Semi Woody Stems of
Peony 'Bartzella'
Herbaceous Stems of
Peony 'Mrs. FDR'

Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 Summer Watering Peonies

Wow. We are only 1 week into the summer, and it is already bad. It is soo hot (100 degrees yesterday), and it hasn't rained in over two weeks, since June 13th. I felt so sorry for some of my peonies that I had to water a couple of them today. A few of them were drooping, and on some of them the leaves have turned yellow. This is not good. I hope we get some rain soon!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2010 APS Peony Convention Highlights

Here are few of my other favorite pictures from the 2010 American Peony Society Convention...

Rotary Gardens - Site of 2010 APS Convention

Award Ribbons
Coral Peonies

The Coolest Car at the Convention

Friday, June 11, 2010

2010 APS Peony Convention Hybridizers & Growers

One awesome part of the convention was getting to meet some of my favorite hybridizers and growers. It was neat to pick their brains on what has worked or not worked for them in areas I'm interested in. I also like learning about their operations to see how the business side of things work for them. Here are some pictures of some of the neat people I met at the show. I met lots of other neat people too, but I may not have a gotten a picture...
Reiner Jakubowski (APS Registrar) and me

Sarah Klehm & Roy Klehm (Klehm's Song Sparrow) and me

Don Hollingsworth (Hollingsworth Nursery) & me

Jim Adelman, me, and Carol Adelman (Adelman Peony Gardens)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2010 APS Court of Honor Peonies

There were several beautiful peonies on the Court of Honor this year, but I think my favorite was Peony 'Coral Sunset'. Only one peony made it to the Court of Honor from the amateur class, Peony 'Bartzella'. There were so few entries into the tree peony category that only two of them made it to the Court of Honor, Peony 'Waucedah Princess' and Peony 'Tria'. Actually there were very few tree peonies in the whole show. Some tree peony categories had no entries. So anyone interested in showing tree peonies should enter next year since there is very little competition.
Peony 'Lancaster Imp'
Peony 'Frances Mains'?
Peony 'Topeka Garnet'?
Peony ''?
Peony 'Coral Sunset'
Peony 'Rosedale'
Peony 'Bartzella'
Peony 'Love Affair'
'Waucedah Princess'
Peony 'Tria'

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2010 APS Intersectional Peonies

There were several intersectional peonies entered into the 2010 APS flower show. Only two of those made it to the Court of Honor. One of them was Peony 'Bartzella' (a yellow) which was the only peony entered by someone in the amateur division that made it to the Court of Honor, and the other was 'Love Affair' (a white). The competition flowers were beautiful, but I think their class can be much improved in beauty and form with future hybridizing efforts.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 APS Peony Books

I purchased two books while I was at the 2010 American Peony Society Convention this year. Those books were 'Peonies 1997-2007' and 'The Best of 75 Years; 1904-1979' The green book 'Peonies 1997-2007' is normally $34.00 which they sold for $30.00, and the blue book 'The Best of 75 Years; 1904-1979' is normally $20.00 which they sold for $15.00 at the convention. So it was a good opportunity to get these books at a discounted price. The green book was highly recommended to me by Reiner Jakubowski, the registrar of the APS and also the author of the book. He said it was an excellent reference for anyone interested in hybridizing. Also it sounds like he put a lot of work into the publication correcting mistakes in past editions.

Monday, June 7, 2010

2010 APS Peony Seed Program

I was excited to get some seed from the APS Peony Seed Distribution Program this year. Since I've been a member for a few years now, this program has been available to me in the past, but I've never taken advantage of it. Somehow it was a bit more enticing to be able to select the seeds in person instead of ordering them through the mail. I got 9 packets of seeds, 8 of those packets were species peonies. The species seeds were $2.50 per pack and the cultivar seeds were $3.00 per pack. So I spent $23.00 in seeds. Not too bad. The seeds that I got were: P. brownii, P. caucasica, P. mascula, P. mlokosewitschii, P. ostii, P. peregrine, P. rockii, P. tenuifolia, P. veitchii. I am really excited to see how well these grow for me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2010 APS Favorite Show Peonies

There were so many peony varieties on display. It is hard to come up with one favorite, but the peony that keeps popping into my mind is not the latest, greatest peony of rare color or form. It was registered in 1966 and hybridized by Bigger. It is Peony 'Pink Derby', and it was displayed by Adelman Peony Gardens. I don't yet have this variety, but I plan to order it for the fall. There were lots of other flowers with rare colors and forms that did catch my eye as well. Here are some pictures and variety names of some of those...
Peony 'Pink Derby'
Peony 'Falcon'
Peony 'The Fawn'
Peony 'Cream Delight'
Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'
Peony 'Coral Sunset'
Peony 'Etched Salmon'

Saturday, June 5, 2010

2010 APS Banquet and Peony Auction

The American Peony Society 2010 banquet and auction were quite nice. The dinner was good, the people were sloshy (better bids that way), the officers were inducted, and the auction went on for quite some time. Although the highlight of the evening may have been seeing one of the incoming APS officers do the chicken dance for $20.00 at the request of some of our Dutch members! Too bad I didn't get a picture of that! Harvey Buchite, the outgoing president, gave a nice speech to induct the officers and the incoming president, Dana Tretheway. Also three additional board members were nominated from the floor. It looks like the board representation will be a little more geographically diverse next year. I'd like to see more representation from the southern region as well.

2010 APS Peony Seminars

I was able to attend 4 of the 5 seminars at the American Peony Society convention this year. I wanted to attend all of them, but I lost track of time and missed one of them while photographing the beautiful flowers on display. The seminars I attended were “Entering your Cut Flower Peonies in an Exhibition” by Dana Tretheway, “Companion Plants for Peonies” by Mark Dwyer, “The Best Fragrant Peonies” by Harvey Buchite, and “Down Peony Lane” by Roy Klehm. I missed the seminar by Kim Hummer on Peony Genetics. I wish I had attended that one and skipped the companion plant seminar instead. Excluding the companion plant seminar, I felt like I learned something about peonies and the society from each of the seminars.
Dana Tretheway's “Entering your Cut Flower Peonies in an Exhibition”