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

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