Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 Peony 'Coral Charm' Best Performer - Week 2

Peony 'Coral Charm' certainly is a charmer. It blooms early and has a very unique and lovely coral color. This particular peony was even divided for donation two years ago. The first spring after division it suffered a bit. This year it has come back even stronger and more beautiful. A large portion of this Peony 'Coral Charm' plant was given as part of my APS Peony Donation to JC Raulston Arboretum. So it has certainly grown well here, even after begin divided. Peony 'Coral Charm' is also an American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner from 1986. So if you are looking for a coral peony to add to your collection, peony 'Coral Charm' is definitely the coral peony you're looking for!

Peony 'Coral Charm'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Peony 'Coral Charm'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Monday, April 27, 2015

2015 Peony Blooms Week 2 - Early

A few more blooms managed to open this week. The photos look so gorgeous even though most of my early bloomers suffered bud blast, presumably from the late winter weather. However these beauties survived that bud-blasting cold or at least part of their buds survived. I am so happy to see such beautiful colors after a long and snowy winter here. Of the peonies in this group, Peony 'Rose Garland' and Peony 'Sweet May' had the most buds on them. Peony 'Flame' and Peony 'Salmon Dream' both had at least the same number of buds as they did last year. Peony 'Lavender' and Peony 'Horizon' had less buds than last year that matured.
Peony 'Flame'
Peony 'Sweet May'
Peony 'Lavender'
Peony 'Horizon'
Peony 'Rose Garland'
Peony 'Salmon Dream'

Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 APS Auction Donation Designer Peony Tote

Well, I finally figured out what I wanted to donate for the 2015 American Peony Society Convention Auction. When I found it, I liked it so much I had to buy two - one for the auction and one for myself! I had never heard of this designer before. I just found it by doing a search for peony tote, since I had somewhat of an idea of what I was looking for. I just didn't know exactly what, but as soon as I saw the photo of this Michel Design Works Peony Designer Tote, I knew this was just what I was looking for! I haven't received it in the mail yet since I just ordered it this week. So I can't tell you much about how it feels or how it carries. However I'm sure it's an awesome bag, and if it is anything less than spectacular, I'll be sure to let you know. If you would like the chance to bid on this Designer Peony Tote and all of the other items (lots of peonies!) in the APS auction, be sure to join us at the 2015 American Peony Society Convention!

Michel Design Works Peony Designer Tote

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 Cut First Stems for APS Peony Exhibition

Well, I did it. I read up on this article on the Canadian Peony web site by Don Hollingsworth about Cutting and Storing Peony Flowers for Later Use, and I cut my first peonies for exhibition. It actually hurt a little bit, knowing I'd be missing several peonies from my garden this year. However I suppose lots more people will get to see them this year instead of just me (if all goes well)! Plus I guess it is kind of like giving someone a bouquet of peonies from my garden as a gift, only I had to cut the plants back a little more than I normally would for a vase since you need to allow for these peony stems to be recut later. This allows you to cut off a couple inches of the stem at the bottom that has dried out during storage. Then hopefully the recut peonies will be able to take in some fresh water and open up the day before they are to be exhibited.

Peony Stems Cut for APS Peony Exhibition

As you can see I cut several different varieties of peonies. Since I'm not a professional grower/peony seller, I don't have fields full of rows of the same varieties of peonies. So I can't just cut 10 or 20 stems of one variety. That would probably kill my plant (if they even have that many stems)! So I just cut 1 or 2 stems from several different peony varieties. If a flower doesn't open well, then I will probably not be able to show that variety since I will only have 1 or 2 cut stems of each variety to choose from. Also as you can see from the photo, I cut the stems in varying stages of bud progress. Some of the buds are tightly closed, and others are partially open. This is due to the advice I found in the article that said single petaled peonies should be cut more closed and double petaled peonies should be cut a bit more open. Supposedly double petaled peonies open slower than single petaled peonies. So cutting them in different stages is in hopes that the double peonies will be able to fully open for showing, and that the single peonies don't age too much in storage or when they open. So cutting peonies for showing sounds like quite a game that definitely rewards experienced players. Since I don't have much (any) experience, I guess I'm hoping for a little luck! :-)

Cut Peony Stems
Waiting to be Wrapped, Bagged, and Refridgerated

Friday, April 24, 2015

2015 Free Peony Seeds from APS Seed Program

I got my free seeds from the American Peony Society Seed Distribution Progam this week! The APS has a benefit that allows seed donors to select a free packet of peony seeds for every 2 varieties of peony seeds you donate. I donated seeds last fall to the program, which allowed me to pick out Free Seeds for Peony Seed Donors when the seeds are distributed in the spring. Last year was the first year I donated seeds to the program. In previous years, I have purchased seeds from the program. So it was nice to get free peony seeds this year! I got every variety I requested, except one that was sold out. I ordered p. clusii, p. ludlowii, p. mascula subsp. bodurii, Zi Die Ying Fen- (Purple Butterfly in the Wind), and Jack Nordick’s Lactiflora Mixture. Apparently p. mascula subsp. bodurii was already sold out. So p. delavayi was substituted. I ordered these seeds only about a week after the peony seed list was posted to the web. So popular seeds sell out quickly. If you haven't gotten your order in yet, now's the time to do it before all of the best varieties are sold out!

Free Seeds from the APS Seed Distribution Program

I planted the seeds in my peony seedling bed a couple days after I received them. There was a space in the bed where several species peony varieties never sprouted for me. These were seeds I'd purchased from the APS Seed Program and planted in 2010. I think 5 years is long enough to wait to see if they will sprout. So some new species seeds have their spot now, and we'll see next spring if any of these seeds germinate!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 Peony Experiments - Herbaceous Divisions Grow

Peony Experiments - Herbaceous Divisions Grow

Remember those outcast herbaceous peony root stumps I had left over last fall after dividing my peonies? Each of these pieces had an eye on it, so I decided to plant them as Peony Experiments - Herbaceous Divisions. It seems like they are growing (well, most of them)! Both of the Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara' stumps are growing. The unknown white double peony stump is growing. It is labeled in the photo as Peony 'Top Brass' since that's what it was sold to me as (unfortunately that cultivar name was incorrect). The only one that didn't grow was the white and yellow anemone peony, which is labeled as Peony 'Rushlight' in the photo. This peony too was labeled incorrectly. Originally I divided these peonies to give them away at the plant swap. Now that these divisions have grown, I can give away or donate even more peonies in the future. I guess the moral of this story is, no matter how small a peony division you end up with after dividing your peonies, plant even the smallest pieces if they have eyes on them. They may just grow for you and make a new plant!

Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara' Root Stumps Grow

White Double Peony Root Stump Grows

White and Yellow Anemone Peony Root Stump Does Not Grow

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Peony Blooms Week 1 - Very Early

The very early peony season this year had only a few contributors. We had a very late cold winter, and it apparently harmed many of the early blooming peonies. Peony 'Early Scout', usually one of the first peonies to bloom in my garden, didn't even make an appearance this year. The buds developed about half way, and then stopped, never to open. The only two tree peonies that had buds this year both bloomed. (My tree peony garden is very immature, and most of the plants are still very small.) So apparently the Tree Peonies in Ice with the foliage and buds exposed to freezing cold didn't bother them at all, but hurt the early herbaceous peonies quite a bit. Tree Peony 'Kamata-fuji' was a New Peony Color Light Violet 76B in my garden, and Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' was the First Peony Bloom of the Year! Near the end of the week Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow' opened, which is always a delight. Peony 'Coral Fay' also joined the party, and no, that photo is not upside down. This bloom was nodding quite a bit, so much so that it looks upside down! :-)
Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'
Tree Peony 'Kamata-fuji'
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow'
Peony 'Coral Fay'

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 New Peony Color Light Violet 76B 'Kamata-fuji'

Tree Peony 'Kamata-fuji'

The second peony of the year bloomed in my garden today, and it was another tree peony, Peony 'Kamata-fuji'. As soon as I first saw the petals emerging from the swollen bud, I was in love with its color! And what a beautiful color it is - the most wonderful color of lavender - unlike any other peony in my garden so far. According to the RHS (Royal Hortircultural Society) Colour Chart it is a Light Violet 76B. Lavender is my favorite color, and I am so happy to have a tree peony blooming in this color. It is also exciting to be able to add another color category to my Peony Colors page where I track all of the bloom colors of the peonies I grow according to the RHS Mini Colour Chart.

Comparing Tree Peony 'Kamata-fuji' to the RHS Mini Colour Chart

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2015 First Peony Bloom of the Year 'White Phoenix'

First Peony Bloom of the Year
Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'

First Peony Bloom of the Year
Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' Bloom

The first peony to bloom this year in my garden was actually a tree peony! Peony 'White Phoenix' or 'Feng Dan Bai' is actually a Chinese tree peony, and this is the first time I have ever had it bloom for me. So that is a nice surprise to see the blossom for the first time ever in my garden and for it to be the first peony to bloom in my garden in 2015.

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'
Underneath a Dogwood Tree

I grow my Peony 'White Phoenix' underneath a dogwood tree in my back yard. Both the tree peony and the dogwood tree happened to bloom at the same time this year. I hope that will happen again in future years since both of the white blossoms look very nice together. Peony 'White Phoenix' is supposed to take full sun to part shade. I was worried that the dogwood tree might provide too much shade for this tree peony, but it seems happy so far, and it has even sprouted a new tree peony shoot from the base this year. So next year it will hopefully have even more branches on which to bloom! :)

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'
Side View

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'
Side View of Bloom

Saturday, April 11, 2015

2015 Tree Peony Moon Garden Progress

Of all the tree peonies in my tree peony garden, only one of them has a bud on it! It is also a peony that has never bloomed for me before. It is Peony 'Kamata-fuji', and I am excited to see its blossom. Last year two of them bloomed, Peony 'Fragrant Jade' with one flower and Peony 'Li Yuan Chun' with three flowers. Neither of those two tree peonies has a bud this year. I guess they spent quite a bit of their energy on those blooms last year, and are spending this year spreading their roots, and getting used to their new home. I hope next year I'll have more blooms on my tree peonies.
Chinese Tree Peonies
from Ali Express
Peony 'Black Lotus'

Also as you can see in the first picture, of the 8 original Chinese Tree Peonies from Ali Express, only 3 of them are still living. However the three that are still alive are growing larger and increasing in size. So this seems like a good sign for their future survival. Peony 'Black Lotus' is growing taller.

Herbaceous Root Stock of
Peony 'Fragrant Jade'
Peony 'High Noon'

Unfortunately it looks like Peony 'Fragrant Jade' has died, at least the top tree peony portion of the plant. It looks like the bottom herbaceous root that was grafted onto the tree peony stem is still living and has now sprouted. Perhaps I didn't plant this one deep enough? Peony 'High Noon' is still living and is a little larger than it was last year, but not much. Perhaps I'll put a little Black Kow composted around it to encourage its growth.

Dead Peony 'Kamata-nishiki'

Peony 'Kamata-nishiki' appears to be dead, both the top tree peony portion and the bottom herbaceous graft. I'm not sure why this one didn't make it. We did have a very cold winter, and this one did have some competition last year - some herbaceous peonies that I didn't get around to moving until last fall. The only thing left is a small violet growing in its place.

Peony 'Kamata-fuji' with Bud

Peony 'Kamata-fuji' is the only tree peony with a bud on it in my garden this year. So it will definitely be the star! Also this tree peony is supposed to have lavender purple flowers on it, and that is my favorite color. So this bloom is especially exciting!

P. Rockii

This P. rockii plant came from Ebay, and I am quite disappointed in it. I'm not sure if the seller just decided to sell of one of his most diseased plants or if this peony is just not adapting well to my climate. I am not happy with my Ebay peony purchases right now. I will tell you all more about that later...

P. Rockii Foliage

As you can see from the second P. rockii picture, the close up view of the foliage is very sad. I have a couple other P. rockii plants, and their foliage doesn't look this bad, especially this early in the season. I also have lots of P. rockii seedlings whose foliage is awesome compared to this one. If I ever get a bloom on this one, and they aren't spectacular, this tree peony may be headed for the trash bin!

Peony 'Li Yuan Chun'
Peony 'Kinkaku'

Peony 'Li Yuan Chun' is growing much larger this year. When I received it, I was tempted to divide it into two plants since it was so large, and it seemed to have a natural place to divide it. However considering my inexperience with tree peonies, and the fact that a few of them didn't make it through this past winter, I'm glad I didn't divide it. Since it had three blooms on it last year, I'm hopeful to see several of them next year since the plant seems to be growing well. Peony 'Kinkaku' is also growing much larger this year.

Peony 'Tria'

Peony 'Tria' is growing a tiny bit this year, but not much. This tree peony is at the back of the tree peony moon garden. So it receives a bit more shade than the rest of the other tree peonies. Perhaps I will add a little Black Kow compost to this one as well to try to give it a boost.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

2015 Spring Peony Buds of a Different Color

I was out early this morning in the garden, and the peonies were all wet with a fresh spring rain. As I wait in anticipation for the peony buds to burst open with a rainbow of colors, I can't help but notice the peony buds swelling in a multitude of different colors, shapes, and forms. Peony 'Coral Charm' has bright red stems beneath its bright green buds. Peony 'Early Scout' holds it buds tightly above its nice cut foliage. Peony 'Firelight' has bright red buds above a fuzzy stem. The petals are beginning to peek through on Peony 'Flame' and Peony 'Lustrous'. Peony 'Garden Peace' has a wide range of hues in its bud cluster from purple, burgundy, pink, orange, and bright green. Peony 'Lavender' even has lavender in its stems, leaves, and buds! Peony 'Nova' holds a yellow tipped green buds over fuzzy stems. Peony 'Rose Garland' has a bright green bud over a bright green stem. Their multitude of differences tells of lots of different genetic material floating around in their DNA. I keep waiting for the first peony bloom to open. The first peony to bloom is usually Peony 'Early Scout', but some other peony may win the race this year. We'll see!
Peony 'Coral Charm'
Peony 'Early Scout'
Peony 'Firelight'
Peony 'Flame'
Peony 'Garden Peace'
Peony 'Lavender'
Peony 'Lustrous'
Peony 'Nova'
Peony 'Rose Garland'

Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 So Many Peony Things to Do!

It feels like peony season has just crept up on me! There are so many things I'd like to do - count my peony seedlings to check the germination rates, check peony plants for buds, take photos of peonies, record the immature foliage colors for each variety, the list goes on! I'm also thinking about showing some flowers in this year's 2015 American Peony Society Convention in Kentucky. So I also need to research - read and reread - (again!) the instructions on how to cut and store peonies for showing. These instructions are available for all convention attendees and are posted the American Peony Society web site under 2015 Convention Exhibition Info on the APS Convention web page. Peonies and peony seedlings are popping out of the ground all around me, and it feels like they are ahead of me! I guess it is time to get busy. I have been stuck inside looking forward to spring for months now, and now it's warm and things are starting to grow, and I'm so happy to be busy outside again! :)

Peony Seedlings Popping Up

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 American Peony Society Convention in Kentucky

The 2015 American Peony Society Convention is going to be May 13th-17th in Kentucky this year. I'm already registered for everything, and I'm so excited. I wasn't able to go last year, and I missed a whole year of fun. So I'm really excited to see everyone and of course all of the peonies! I have decided to drive this year since it will definitely cut down on my travel costs. That way I will have my own car and won't have to rent a car or fly. The hotel is a bit more expensive this year. I was going to stay elsewhere if I had to fly, but since I'm driving instead, I'll be able to stay at The Galt House Hotel, the hotel where the convention is being held. I'm really looking forward to it since this hotel is right on the river. If you're considering going, now's the time to get your registration in. After April 10th, there is a late fee. Another good reason to drive is that it will be much easier to bring flowers to enter into the APS Peony Exhibition. If you will have some peonies in bloom during the second week in May, you should consider bringing them. There are separate divisions for professional and amateur. So bring what you can. Don't be nervous. This is going to be my first year showing flowers too! ;)

2015 APS Convention in Louisville, Kentucky