Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Peony Blooms Early - Week 2

Week 2 of my peony bloom season turned out to be much more colorful than Peony Blooms Very Early - Week 1, with lots more varieties blooming than the week before. Peony 'Lavender', my favorite color of all, bloomed this week too. Also some fuller varieties with more petals per bloom starting blooming this week as well. The peony bloom season seems to build slowly, starting with only a few colors and petals. Over time the range of colors and the number of petals per bloom just keep increasing and increasing. What an amazing show to watch! I hope you're enjoying your peony bloom season this year (or excitedly anticipating it) and don't let it pass you by. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in your day to day life and forget to enjoy the abundance and beauty of nature right outside your door!
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow'
Peony 'Lustrous'
Peony 'Coral Magic'
Peony 'Lavender'

Saturday, April 27, 2013

2013 Beautiful Yellow Tree Peony

Well I am definitely not the only lover of peonies in my area (and climate!). I was happily surprised and amazed to see this beautiful yellow tree peony on my way to the post office yesterday. It looks like it is quite old. So they must have had it for some time. What a great specimen! The blooms are super lovely and huge. It seems they also grow herbaceous peonies too, as you can see there are lots of them in bud right in front of the yellow tree peony. This tree peony must have been at least 4-5 feet high. It was planted right in front of a gorgeous dark red/purple Japanese maple tree. The contrast of the colors was so stunning, I just had to pull over and take some photographs. I hope you enjoy them! :-)

Yellow Tree Peony

Yellow Tree Peony and Herbaceous Peonies

Yellow Tree Peony Close Up

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 P. Rockii Peony Seeds from Cricket Hill Garden

Last week I got the Tree Peony P. Rockii Seeds I ordered from Ebay. They apparently came from Cricket Hill Garden. I wasn't sure, but I thought these seeds might come from a private individual. The seeds came with a very nice catalog from Cricket Hill Garden as well. I think they normally charge $2.00 for a copy of their catalog. So I've never gotten a copy since I don't like to pay for catalogs. It looks like Cricket Hill Garden is using Ebay as a creative marketing tool - sell some seeds, send a free catalog. The catalog actually has some interesting information about Japanese and Chinese tree peonies, which is great since I don't know a lot about the differences and history of both of these type of peonies. So I was very happy to receive the catalog with the seeds. The Ebay auction was for "15 Fresh Tree Peony P. Rockii Seeds USA GROWN", and they actually send 20 seeds. So that was nice of them. I will definitely be leaving them positive feedback on Ebay! I can't wait to see how these grow!

P. Rockii Seeds and Catalog from Cricket Hill Gardens

Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 Peony Blooms Very Early - Week 1

Well the peony bloom season has started nicely here. Even though lots of my early season peony bushes are more mature, the number of blooms is still limited since all of the varieties that have bloomed thus far are hybrids that have only one bloom per stem. So I am definitely looking forward to some of the varieties that sport several blossoms per stem. Also all of these very early varieties are the single type of peonies. This type of peony has only a few petals and a very prominent center showcasing the peony's golden stamens. The blooms are very lovely, and if you haven't learned to appreciate single peony blossoms yet, once you grow them, you will appreciate how well they can withstand rain and not fall over after a storm! If you are looking to increase your peony bloom season, here are some varieties that bloom very early! Enjoy!
Peony 'Chalice'
Peony 'Firelight'
Peony 'Sweet May'
Peony 'Early White'

Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Planted P. Rockii and P. Ludlowii Peony Plants

Today I planted the P. Rockii Peony Plant that Arrived last week in the mail from Edelweiss Perennials. I decided to keep in in the pot for a short while to make sure it had plenty of water this week, and it looks like it helped it a lot. The leaves are no longer wilted looking, and it seems like it even grew a bit. I guess I planted it in the correct place as well. I planted it where it will receive some afternoon shade. From what I just read, it seems that the P. rockii tree peonies generally go into early dormancy in places that have hot, dry summers. It sounds like this guy is in for a challenge in this southern climate. Luckily I planted it in a location that will give the plant a bit of relief from our long and hot summers here.

P. rockii Peony Planted

I also got the P. ludlowii peony plant I ordered from Ebay planted today as well. This one looks like a nice plant except it looks like it already has botrytis blight on its stems. This worries me since the seller of this plant calls it a P. delavayi var. lutea ludlowii. The other P. delavayi plant I have with red flowers on it has not done very well here and is always diseased. I hope this yellow P. delavayi variety does not have the same poor performance here. We shall see...

P. ludlowii Peony Planted

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2013 First Peony Seedling with Developing Bud

Well, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will be in for a treat this peony bloom season. While checking over my original peony seedling test bed, I found a bud on one of the plants! That is just so exciting. This plant came from one of the seeds of the Peony 'Lady Alexandra Duff' that I planted in 2007, the first year that I planted any peony seeds. So it has been 5 years since I planted that seed! Perhaps some of these peony seedlings could have bloomed sooner if I had given them more water or more sun or some fertilizer, perhaps. So these seeds have truly been a product of Mother Nature with very little to no intervention from me. The only thing I did was harvest them, keep track of where they came from, and plant them in the ground! It is not uncommon for very small buds to never develop into blooming size. So I will definitely be watching over this one and maybe giving it a little extra water to try to help increase the odds. If it blooms it will be the first ever peony bloom that I will get to see from any of my peony seed plantings.

Small Bud on Seedling Peony Plant

Seedling of Peony 'Lady Alexandra Duff'

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2013 How to Plant a Tree Peony

Tree Peony Stem and Roots
Tree Peony Stem Root Junction

Tree Peonies should be planted similar to Herbaceous Peonies, except much more care should be taken to make sure the stem and roots are facing the proper directions. This is important for herbaceous peonies as well, but more so with tree peonies.

Dig Hole for Tree Peony

The first step and perhaps the most important step in planting a peony is preparing the soil. I usually dig at least a 3 foot round hole for each root, spading the soil with my shovel to make sure the dirt is nice and loose. After the hole is dug and the soil has been loosened, I add some organic fertilizer and lime (dolomitic limestone) to the soil in the hole and mix it in. The fertilizer is used to add nutrients to the soil and the lime is used to adjust the PH of the soil. In my area, most soils are acidic, and peonies prefer a more neutral to very slightly acidic soil, around a PH of 6.0 to 7.0.

Put Tree Peony Root in Planting Hole

Next take a look at the tree peony's roots and make a small hole in the middle of your 3 foot round hole that will accommodate the size of the peony root. Tree peonies keep above ground woody stems, whereas herbaceous peonies do not. The tree peony will have a definite delineation between the roots and the woody stem. The woody stem may have pink buds on it, or it could have died back, in which case the new shoots and foliage would emerge near the bottom of the stems/top of the roots. So make sure to put the roots into the soil and put the woody stem(s) pointing up towards the sky. In my southern climate the point where the roots meets the stem can be planted even with the soil, so that the roots are below the soil and the stems/buds are above the soil. However if you have a grafted tree peony, it is advisable to plant the stem/root junction a few inches under the soil to, hopefully, allow the tree peony stem to form roots of its own and prevent the herbaceous peony root from creating its own foliage shoots.

Cover Tree Peony Roots with Soil

Once the tree peony root has been covered with soil, I cover the planting hole with a 1-2 inch layer of mulch. You don't want to put too much mulch on peonies in this climate. Otherwise the roots may not get enough chilling hours needed for blooming. They do however need enough mulch to retain moisture (It does get really hot here!) and prevent weed growth. After the peony has been mulched, I water the newly planted peony plant. You can water your root before or after you mulch it. I just like to water mine afterwards because it seems like the soils stays in place a little better with the mulch already on top.

Mulch Tree Peony

Monday, April 15, 2013

2013 First Bloom of the Year - Peony 'Early Scout'!

Well, the first peony of the year bloomed today, on tax day - April 15, 2013! It was Peony 'Early Scout', which is usually one of the first peonies to bloom here. I am so excited that the peony bloom season has finally started. As you can see from the yellow dust on the leaves of the peony, pollen season is also here! I hope the pollen is over soon. I don't think the pollen season and the peony bloom seasons usually coincide, but with the late winter that turned into summer this year, everything is coming out at once. I'm wondering how that will affect my peonies as well. The peony blooms usually last about 6-7 weeks here, but I'm betting we won't get that many weeks this year. The peony bloom season will likely be compressed a bit this year. That might make for some different hybridizing opportunities, however, since some different varieties will be in bloom together that usually aren't.

First to Bloom Peony 'Early Scout'

Sunday, April 14, 2013

2013 Where are the Peony Blooms???

Where are the peony blooms this year? According to my records from last year my peonies started blooming on March 26, 2012. I think I must have gotten spoiled last year, because now I feel like my peonies are a couple of weeks late. So I decided to look back at all of my peony start Bloom Dates back to 2006, the first year my Early Scout peony bloomed. That year my peonies started blooming on April 7, 2006, which is 96 days into the year. So I decided to find out the average and mean start dates for my peony bloom season thus far. We had a really long winter this year. Weather-wise, winter really only ended 2 weeks ago - the temperatures for the high were in the 50s every day. Then we had one week of spring, with moderate temperatures. This past week has been summer, with the highs in the 80s! So the weather changed really fast this year. We had an extended winter that turned right into summer! Anyway the mean (average) peony bloom season start date for my area with the data I've collected so far is 91.85, and the mean is 94. So that means the average start date and the mean start date for my area this year is April 2, 2013 and April 5, 2013. So the peony blooms are about a week and half to 2 weeks late this year! This year will be the latest peony bloom start of any year since I've been keeping track. The latest date I've had before this year was April 11, 2009 (100 days). Today is April 14th, and they haven't bloomed yet. They should be blooming soon, though!

Saunders Peony Garden - April 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

2013 Intersectional/Itoh Peony Buds

OMG! This is going to be an exciting year in my garden for intersectional peony blooms. I am super excited! I tried to count all of the buds I could find on the intersectional plants that I have, and it looks like there will be more varieties of intersectional peonies blooming in one year in my garden than ever before. Even some of the new plants from the 2012 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions have buds on them. I took some pictures today of as many different intersectional peony buds that I could find. It looks like I have blooms developing on at least 11 different varieties! There may be more to come. I have been eagerly reviewing the intersectional peonies almost daily for buds, and each day I find more and more. Here are the pictures of the ones I have so far. They are in various stages of development...
Peony 'Bartzella'
Peony 'First Arrival'
Peony 'Garden Treasure'
Peony 'Morning Lilac'
Peony 'Pastel Splendor'
Peony 'Scarlet Heaven'
Peony 'Sequestered Sunshine'
Peony 'Singing in the Rain'
Peony 'Sonoma Amethyst'
Peony 'White Emperor'
Peony 'Yellow Crown'

Thursday, April 11, 2013

2013 P. Rockii Peony Plant Arrived

Well, the P. Rockii Species Peony from Edelweiss Perennials that I ordered last week arrived today. It looks like a nice size plant, although the leaves looked a little wilted, presumably from its trip through the mail system. So I decided to let it take a dip and rest in the shade this afternoon. The plant was well protected in its box except for its dirt, some of which was dispersed inside the package. The roots of the tree peony were showing since the top soil has been displaced. (This could have been prevented by putting the pot in a plastic bag and using a twist tie to close the plastic bag around the stem. I've gotten several other plants in the mail this way, and it seems to work very well.) So anyway I added a little potting soil and water to the top of 4" pot, that was supposed to be a quart - which I plan to contact the company about. So we will see what they say about that. Otherwise, the plant seems to be a good one with nice foliage. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, which is good since it's so hot all of a sudden. Hopefully it will cool us down a bit and keep the ground a little moist. Then I should be able to plant out this P. rockii on Saturday. :-)

P. Rockii Peony Plant

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2013 P. Rockii Species Peonies at Edelweiss Perennials

Wow. Google is my friend. :-) I found a P. rockii peony using Google offered by Edelweiss Perennials. I've never heard of this nursery before, but I thought I'd take a chance. It seems like they a large variety of plants. They even have several other species peonies to choose from (Paeonia delavayi, Paeonia intermedia, Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii, Paeonia mairei, Paeonia mascula subsp. arietina, Paeonia mlokosewitschii, Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae, Paeonia peregrina, Paeonia potaninii, Paeonia rockii ssp. rockii, and Paeonia tenuifolia). Some of them I've not seen offered elsewhere (like Paeonia intermedia, P. mairei, P. potaninii, P. triternata), and their prices are very reasonable. If the P. rockii peony I purchase from them does well, I may order some additional species plants from them later this year or next year. I'm really excited to see the white and purple blooms of the Paeonia rockii!

P. rockii Peony at Edelweiss Perennials

Thursday, April 4, 2013

2013 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List

So. I really like intersectional peonies (also known as Itoh peonies). I've collected quite a few of them, but I definitely do not have them all (especially some of the more expensive varieties). So I've been keeping my eye on their prices, and they have been coming down in price as they become more common in the marketplace. I created a spreadsheet with all of the available varieties for 2013 from nurseries that specialize in peonies. I haven't ordered from all of these vendors, so I can't speak for their quality or reliability, but I thought this might be helpful information for other gardeners out there looking to collect intersectional peonies as well or maybe just add the first one to your garden. Also if you have your heart set on a particular variety, get your order in early, because some of these will sell out (and some of them already have)! Enjoy!

Intersectional PeonyPriceVendor
Al's Choice$89.00Brooks
Ballarena de Saval$70.00Adelman
Bartzella$45.00Solaris Farms
Bartzella$79.00Buck Canyon
Bartzella$79.00Peony's Envy
Bartzella$95.00Song Sparrow
Bartzella$99.00Cricket Hill
Border Charm$39.99Hidden Springs
Border Charm$40.00Adelman
Border Charm$40.00Swenson
Border Charm$45.00Birchwood
Border Charm$45.00Song Sparrow
Border Charm$59.00Peony's Envy
Callie's Memory$59.00Peony's Envy
Callie's Memory$75.00Brooks
Callie's Memory$95.00Solaris Farms
Callie's Memory$100.00Swenson
Canary Brilliants$59.00Peony's Envy
Canary Brilliants$70.00Adelman
Canary Brilliants$75.00Swenson
Canary Brilliants$90.00Solaris Farms
Chief Black Hawk$285.00Brooks
Copper Kettle$150.00Swenson
Cora Louise$60.00Adelman
Cora Louise$60.00Brooks
Cora Louise$60.00Hollingsworth
Cora Louise$75.00Song Sparrow
Cora Louise$80.00Song Sparrow
Cora Louise$99.00Cricket Hill
Court Jester$100.00Swenson
First Arrival$45.00Solaris Farms
First Arrival$60.00Adelman
First Arrival$75.00Buck Canyon
First Arrival$75.00Song Sparrow
First Arrival$75.00Swenson
First ArrivalC$130.00Blossom Hill
Garden Treasure$50.00Solaris Farms
Garden Treasure$55.00Fina
Garden Treasure$65.00Swenson
Garden Treasure$68.00Hollingsworth
Garden Treasure$69.99Hidden Springs
Garden Treasure$79.00Brooks
Garden Treasure$80.00Adelman
Garden Treasure$80.00Buck Canyon
Garden Treasure$85.00Song Sparrow
Garden Treasure$89.00Peony's Envy
Garden Treasure$90.00Bannister
Garden Treasure$99.00Cricket Hill
Going Bananas$40.00Adelman
Going BananasC$130.00Blossom Hill
Gordon E. Simonson$250.00Adelman
Hidden Treasure$35.00Solaris Farms
Hillary$59.00Peony's Envy
Hillary$60.00Buck Canyon
Hillary$75.00Solaris Farms
Joanna Marlene$75.00Solaris Farms
Joanna Marlene$80.00Adelman
Joanna Marlene$100.00Swenson
Julia Rose$65.00Swenson
Julia Rose$75.00Adelman
Julia Rose$75.00Solaris Farms
Julia RoseC$130.00Blossom Hill
Kaleidoscope$99.00Buck Canyon
Kopper Kettle$99.00Adelman
Lafayette Escadrille$48.00Hollingsworth
Lemon Dream$45.00Adelman
Lemon Dream$48.00Hollingsworth
Lemon Dream$50.00Solaris Farms
Lemon Dream$59.00Peony's Envy
Lemon Dream$75.00Swenson
Little Darlin$60.00Birchwood
Little Darlin$65.00Song Sparrow
Lollipop$90.00Solaris Farms
Love Affair$150.00Adelman
Love Affair$150.00Hollingsworth
Maroon Dragon Claw$89.00Cricket Hill
Morning Lilac$64.00Buck Canyon
Morning Lilac$70.00Adelman
New Millennium$200.00Adelman
New Millennium$250.00Swenson
Norwegian Blush$95.00Song Sparrow
Old Rose Dandy$45.00Adelman
Old Rose Dandy$45.00Solaris Farms
Old Rose Dandy$45.00Swenson
Old Rose Dandy $59.00Peony's Envy
Pastel Splendor$35.00Solaris Farms
Pastel Splendor$40.00Swenson
Pastel Splendor$45.00Adelman
Pastel Splendor$65.00Song Sparrow
Pastel Splendor$79.00Peony's Envy
Pastel SplendorC$80.00Blossom Hill
Prairie Charm$40.00Adelman
Prairie Charm$50.00Birchwood
Prairie Charm$50.00Hollingsworth
Prairie Charm$50.00Swenson
Prairie Charm$54.95Hidden Springs
Prairie Charm$59.00Peony's Envy
Prairie Charm$60.00Song Sparrow
Prairie Charm$75.00Bannister
Prairie Sunshine$80.00Hollingsworth
Rosy Prospects$200.00Swenson
Royal Blush$150.00Swenson
Saffron Innocence$200.00Swenson
Scarlet Heaven$40.00Adelman
Scarlet Heaven$40.00Swenson
Scarlet Heaven$55.00Solaris Farms
Scarlet Heaven$59.00Peony's Envy
Scarlet HeavenC$80.00Blossom Hill
Scarlet Heaven$99.00Cricket Hill
Sequestered Sunshine$50.00Solaris Farms
Smith Family Yellow$99.00Adelman
Sonoma Amethyst$65.00Adelman
Sonoma Apricot$55.00Solaris Farms
Sonoma Sun$80.00Adelman
Sonoma Velvet Ruby$80.00Adelman
Sonoma Welcome$55.00Adelman
Sunshine SensationC$130.00Blossom Hill
Unique$48.00Buck Canyon
Viking Full Moon$40.00Solaris Farms
Viking Full Moon$45.00Adelman
Viking Full Moon$50.00Swenson
Viking Full Moon$95.00Song Sparrow
Watermelon Wine$150.00Adelman
Yankee Doodle Dandy$59.00Peony's Envy
Yellow Crown$55.00Solaris Farms
Yellow Emperor$50.00Swenson
Yellow Emperor$55.00Solaris Farms

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 Tree Peony P. Rockii Seeds on Ebay

I've been wanting a P. rockii tree peony for quite some time, but I have yet to acquire one. So I decided to buy some of the P. rockii tree peony seeds that I found for sale on Ebay. They were kind of expensive ($7.50), but not as expensive as the plant itself (which is usually $50+). So I decided to give them a try. Plus the $7.50 price did include the shipping. So I guess it's not too bad. I've purchased some P. rockii and P. rockii hybrid seeds from the APS Peony Seed Sale before, but they have yet to germinate. I'm hoping these will do something since they're advertised as USA grown and fresh. We shall see...