Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 American Peony Society Yew Dell Gardens Tour

During the American Peony Society Convention and on the morning of our first tour day, we went on the American Peony Society Whitehall Mansion Tour of its house and gardens. In the afternoon we toured the Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. They had a very nice barn that was designed by an architect and housed their gift shop right at their main entrance, which is where they gave the intro to our tour.

Yew Dell Tour Guide and American Peony Society Members
Yew Dell Entrance Barn and Gift Shop

However before we even got off our tour buses and entered the Yew Dell barn, we noticed a group planting of yellow Itoh peonies. Also upon our exit from the barn we found another group planting of the same yellow intersectionals. They turned out to be the Peony 'Garden Treasure' that Don Hollingsworth had donated to Yew Dell a couple years before. They made such a lovely display, and really dressed up the entrance to Yew Dell. Everyone clamored to get a photo of Don Hollingsworth and his gorgeous Peony 'Garden Treasure'.

Don Hollingsworth and Peony 'Garden Treasure'

The tour of Yew Dell included a look at their display gardens, kitchen garden, fountain garden, shade garden, rooftop garden, greenhouses, and of course their castle. The tour was quick and we had lunch in the garden shortly afterwards. It seems I could have spent a couple more hours exploring the gardens here, but I used my bit of free time during lunch to chat with other APS members. After lunch one bus load of people went back to the Galt House Hotel, and those who chose to stay participated in the ALM training program part two.

APS Members at the Yew Dell Castle

Monday, May 25, 2015

2015 Peony Blooms Week 6 - Late

We continue this week with lots more lactiflora peonies in bloom. With it being almost June, the weather is much warmer. We had two days in the 90s, two days in the 80s, and three days in the 70s. The 90 degree days were really hard on the peonies with blooms wilting much faster. Also most of the week 6 late bloomers this year are usually my week 7 very late season bloomers. So the weeks have definitely merged together, and my peony bloom season is coming to a close. There are still a few bright spots in the garden with the bright hot pinks of Peony 'Paul M. Wild' and Peony 'Mons. Martin Cahuzac'. Also the pure white blossoms of Peony 'Elsa Sass' and Peony 'White Frost' still draw the eye.
Peony 'Pink Parasol Surprise'
Peony 'Mons. Martin Cahuzac'
Peony 'Paul M. Wild'
Peony 'Vivid Rose'
Peony 'Elsa Sass'
Peony 'White Frost'

Sunday, May 24, 2015

2015 American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner - 'Mahoghany'


American Peony Society Facebook Page
Peony 'Mahogany' 2015 Gold Medal Winner

This year the American Peony Society selected Peony 'Mahogany' as the APS Gold Medal Winner for 2015 and 2016 Peony of the Year. Peony 'Mahogany' was hybridized by Glasscock and registered in 1937. The APS registration describes it as "Single - Deep mahogany. Very early. Hybrid. Large, single, cup-shaped bloom of deep mahogany color. Albiflora x officinalis Otto Froebel." I actually do not grow this peony, but it has been on my peony want list since 2008 when Hollingsworth Peonies was selling it for $24.00. Don't ask me why I haven't ordered it in the last 7 years. I guess there were other peonies on my list too! ;-) I'm sure the prices will go up for this peony in next year's catalogs. Interestingly enough, I wasn't able to find it in any of this years catalogs so I could actually order one for myself. If you know of a peony grower who is selling it for fall shipment, please let me know!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

2015 APS Auction Winnings - Peony Love Affair


Hollingsworth Peonies' Peony 'Love Affair'

I am so excited about my 2015 American Peony Society Convention auction wins. Not only was the convention a blast, but the auction also gave attendees and opportunity to add new and possibly rare peony selections to their gardens! If there was one peony that I really wanted from the auction, it was Don Hollingsworth's Peony 'Love Affair'. I have been wanting this peony since 2013 when Hollingsworth Peonies was selling it for $150, and I have been waiting for the price to drop. However instead of the price dropping, they actually increased it this year. Also I did try to purchase it on Ebay last year, but it turned out to be Fake Itohs on Ebay - 4 (Not) Intersectional Peonies which was very disappointing. So I was prepared to pay $150 for it in the APS auction. However I was able to win it in the APS Auction for the lucky price of $90! I am so excited. I finally have the real one. I can't wait to see this peony bloom, and I'm curious to see how its foliage and blooms compare to my other white intersectional, Peony 'White Emperor'.
Intersectional Peony
'Love Affair'
Tree Peony
'Rou Fu Rong' (Pink Lotus)

I won a Peony Gift Basket for $35, which I think was probably worth at least $50. So that was awesome. I also won one other peony, Peony 'Defender' a red colored Saunders hybrid for $35, which will fit nicely in my Saunder's peony garden. I won a flower arrangement which I gave to my Mom for her birthday. Her birthday happened to be the exact same day as the APS auction, so I was thinking about her that day. :-) There was one more item from the auction that was gifted to me, Tree Peony 'Rou Fu Rong' (Pink Lotus). It is apparently a double pink tree peony. My tree peony garden is still very small with only a few selections. So this will be a nice addition as well. :-)

Friday, May 22, 2015

2015 Fake Itohs on Ebay - 4 (Not) Intersectional Peonies

So remember those 4 Itoh Intersectional Peonies on Ebay I purchased last fall? Well, they turned out to not be intersectional peonies at all. All four of them were some nameless single flowering herbaceous roots that the seller misrepresented as much more valuable intersectional peonies. I have purchased intersectional peony roots from a different seller on Ebay in previous years that were actually intersectional peonies. This seller, bernard*sweety, sold me expensive intersectional peony roots, but actually sent me cheap herbaceous roots.

Credit Card Dispute for Fake Itoh Intersectional Peony

As you can see I was able to successfully dispute the charges with my Discover credit card. However I also had to talk with Paypal customer service because I had also used a $25 Paypal gift card on this purchase. So all told this seller, bernard*sweety, tried to defraud me out of over $160. I am not the type of person to take that sitting down. As soon as I saw the foliage come up in the spring, I knew it was herbaceous foliage, not intersectional foliage. So I opened a dispute right away and gave Discover all of the required dispute documentation (and then some) as evidence. I also wanted to let all of you know in case you are thinking of ordering something from this seller, bernard*sweety, don't! I'm not saying I won't ever order peonies on Ebay again. However I will be much more leery of what they're selling. If I want a peony that is guaranteed to be the correct variety, then I will definitely order from a reputable peony grower that stands behind their roots!

Fake Itoh Intersectional Peony from Ebay

Thursday, May 21, 2015

2015 American Peony Society Southern Peony Winners

Wow! I can hardly believe it. I actually won a ribbon in the APS show, and not just one, lots of them! This was my first time showing peonies - ever. There was also a special blue and light blue ribbon, an APS Southern Peony Court of Honor Winner for 'Keiko' ('Pink Double Dandy'). I feel like I made so many mistakes, and could have done much better. I have definitely learned a lot for the next time I exhibit flowers. I'm not sure when I'll exhibit again, though. It was almost a last minute decision to enter flowers into the show this year. Originally I had planned on flying to the convention. However after evaluating the cost of driving and staying in the Galt House Hotel against flying and staying in a budget hotel, driving was a bit cheaper. So I decided to drive, which opened up the possibility of bringing peonies for the APS Exhibition. I'm not sure I'm up for the challenge of getting peonies to a show via an airline yet. So it may be a while before the opportunity to show presents itself again. We'll see though. Once you enter some peonies in the show, and you do well, it make you want to do it again! Also I thought these were the only peonies I had that won a ribbon, but apparently I didn't look the tables over closely enough. Apparently I won 1 more ribbon! Wow!
3 Blooms
Peony 'Bartzella'
First Award
3 Blooms
Peony 'Pink Double Dandy'
Second Award
3 Blooms
Peony 'Cora Louise'
Second Award
Peony 'Pastel Splendor'
Third Award
Peony 'White Emperor'
Second Award
Peony 'Bartzella'
First Award
Peony 'Soft Lemon Kisses'
Honorable Mention
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow'
Second Award
Peony 'Grace Root'
Third Award
Peony 'Pink Spritzer'
First Award
Peony 'Pink Luau'
Second Award
Peony 'Feather Top'
Second Award
Peony 'Do Tell'
Second Award
Peony 'Angel Cheeks'
Second Award
Peony 'Kansas'
Second Award
Peony 'Bowl of Cream'
Third Award
Peony 'Pink Double Dandy'
First Award
Court of Honor
Peony 'Smith Opus 2'
Honorable Mention

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 APS Southern Peony Court of Honor Winner - 'Keiko'


2015 APS Court of Honor Winner
Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy'

Wow! I can hardly believe it! I actually won a Court of Honor ribbon for the Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy' bloom I submitted to the 2015 American Peony Society Exhibition! It seems like only yesterday I was fretting over when to cut the peony buds and then how to get them open. Since this was my first time showing peonies, it's a wonder I won any ribbons at all. It just seems fantastical that I won an APS Court of Honor ribbon. I am so honored. This peony was hybridized by Don Smith and registered in 2004, and it is a great peony. I selected Peony 'Keiko' (Adored) Best Performer - Week 4 as a Southern Peony Best Performer this year for its exceptional performance in my zone 7 garden. This peony has two names, the original name given to it by its hybridizer, Don Smith, which is 'Pink Double Dandy' and the marketing name given to it by Monrovia who markets and sells this variety, which is 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored). Monrovia purchased the rights of several intersectional hybrids from Don Smith and renamed them with Japanese names to honor Itoh, the "inventor" or intersectional peonies. Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) is one of these selections. Another APS Member commented to me that this peony bloom is like a work of art, and I agree. Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy' is definitely a winner for me in the garden and on the show table!

Me with My First Ever APS Court of Honor Winner
Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy'

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 American Peony Society Court of Honor Winners

There were lots of pretty peonies on the 2015 American Peony Society Convention Exhibition's Court of Honor this year. The vases that the Court of Honor Winners were displayed in this year were the prettiest I've ever seen. They looked like cut crystal vases, and reflected the light very nicely, complimenting the gorgeous blooms contained within them. Although the vases were quite beautiful, they did not compare to the Court of Honor peonies. Each one was a sight to be seen. I participated as a judge again this year, judging the professional Class I peony blooms. I entered flowers into the amateur Class II division for the first time this year, and I didn't judge any of those flowers. The APS is very careful to make sure that the judges do not judge their own flowers. Also the last time I judged flowers if one of the judges did have a flower in the class being judged, that judge would abstain from judging that category. I also did not judge the Court of Honor. The judges that decided those flowers were APS Board members who did not enter any flowers into the show.
Peony Seedling 'BJ #1'
Tree Peony 'Boreas'
Tree Peony 'Tamasudare'
Peony 'Pink Double Dandy'
Tree Peony 'Leda'
Tree Peony 'Hephestos'
Peony 'Salmon Dream'
Peony 'Dawn Glow'
Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara'
Peony 'White Frost'
Peony 'Onondaga'
Peony 'Alice Crousse'
Peony 'Angel Cheeks'
Tree Peony
'Kamata Nishiki'