Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Peonies for Fall Carolina Plant Swap

Peonies for the Fall Carolina Plant Swap

I was busy in the garden this past Saturday digging up plants for the Carolina Fall Plant Swap. I managed to dig up 5 peonies for the swap. I hope these babies will grow in thrive in their new owners' gardens. Fall is the perfect time to plant peonies. So if you're thinking about adding these gorgeous spring beauties to your garden for a spring show, fall is the time to get them settled into your garden. I cut the foliage off of the three largest plants that bloomed this year, and kept the foliage on the two smaller ones. The gardeners at the swap actually picked up the smaller plants with the foliage first, perhaps mistakenly thinking that these were the largest or most established peonies. When it comes to peonies, the root size is actually what matters most. To get a peony that will have the best chance of establishing itself in your garden, you'll want to select a peony with lots of eyes on it, and a good root system.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Peony obovata Seed Pod with Explosive Red Color

Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae Colorful Seed Pod

Wow! WoW! WOW! This isn't the first year that Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae has bloomed for me, and I hope it's not the last! If you don't currently grow any species peonies, this is my argument for you to start! :-) Of all of the species peonies I've tried to grow, this is the one I've had the most success with. It did take some time for it to get established, but it was well worth the wait! Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae first bloomed for me in 2014 First Bloom on Peony P. obovata var. willmottiae. The white flowers are quite nice and will brighten up a shady spot that most peonies won't grow in. If you are looking for peonies with fall color, the red color of this species peony seed pod is just amazing!

Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae Colorful Seed Pod

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015 Fall Peony Seed Planting and Donation

Well, it wasn't a bumper crop of seeds this year, but I did get some varieties of seed that I haven't gotten seed from before. So I'm really excited to see those grow. A couple of the plants that produced seed only produced one seed - like Peony 'Cream Delight' and Peony 'Rose Garland', and also this very red semi-double peony that I got from Klehm's Song Sparrow, which was supposed to be Peony 'Paree Fru Fru' (a light pink bomb), but was not... Anyway, I'm excited to see what kind of children these plants will produce.

2015 Peony Seed Planting Labels

Since seed production was kind of low this year, I planted most of my own seeds. There were only two varieties that produced more than 10 seeds this year - Peony 'Pink Spritzer' which had 40 seeds and Peony 'Raspberry Firefly' which had 37 seeds. I planted 10 of the Peony 'Pink Spritzer' seeds and 7 of the Peony 'Raspberry Firefly' seeds. The rest of the seeds from these two varieties, I will donate to the American Peony Society Seed Distribution Program. From checking their seed list, they don't currently have any seeds of Peony 'Raspberry Firefly'. So that's exciting to be able to share seeds that no one currently has access to purchase.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 Intersectional Peony Seeds 'Lafayette Escadrille'

Seed and Seed Pod of Peony 'Lafayette Escadrille'

Of all the seeds I collected this year, I think the ones I am most excited about are from Peony 'Lafayette Escadrille'. Yes, that's right 'Lafayette Escadrille', an intersectional peony. I have only ever gotten one seed from an intersectional peony before, and that was from Peony 'White Emperor' in 2014. That one seed did not sprout. This time instead of just one seed, I got 9 seeds. However I am not sure if they are viable, but I am going to plant them anyway and hope for the best. Intersectional peonies do not usually set seed and are mostly infertile. So I'd love to be able to get one of their seeds to actually grow and get an intersectional seedling. I'll let you know if anything comes up!

Seed Pod and Seed of Peony 'Lafayette Escadrille'

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015 Peony 'Miss America' Hybridizing Unsuccessful

Remember that peony garden party with all of the Peonies in Their Party Hats? I think those peonies had too much fun at their party (or maybe not enough???) Well, anyway, it looks like I have another year of hybridizing attempts with no success. The two crosses I tried to make with Peony 'Miss America' did not produce any seed. However none of the flowers on this usually abundant seed producer produced any seed. I only tried to cross two of the flowers, and I left all of the other flowers to Mother Nature to hybridize. However none of the many flowers on this bush produced any seed. So I guess it wasn't just me. I guess next year I need to try many more crosses with many more flowers and many different mother plants. It seems that hybridizing requires more than just picking two suitable parents, but perhaps a little luck and cooperation from Mother Nature as well. It also seems like a bit of a numbers game. The more crosses you try, the more chances for success.
Unsuccessful Cross
on Peony 'Miss America'
Unsuccessful Cross
on Peony 'Miss America'

Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015 Collect Late Peony Seeds

This week I made the last search through my garden for peony seeds. There were lots more seeds ready now at the beginning of September than there were about a month ago at the end of July. One month makes a big difference in peony seed production. In fact some of the seeds I went to harvest had already fallen to the ground. Luckily it was easy to identify which peony they came from since my peonies are not planted too close together and not all of them produced seed. So don't wait too long to collect your peony seeds in your garden so they don't get lost.

Seed Pod and Seeds of Peony 'Raspberry Firefly'

This year wasn't a stellar year for seed production. Some of usually most reliable and productive seed producing peonies failed to make any seeds this year. However I did get some seeds from peony varieties that I have never gotten seed from before. Some of those varieties that produced seed for the first time for me were: Peony 'Bowl of Beauty', Peony 'Green Halo', Peony 'Green Lotus', Peony 'Lafayette Escadrille', Peony 'Pink Spritzer', Peony 'Raspberry Firefly', Peony 'Rose Garland', and Peony 'Strawberry Wine'. I am really excited to have some different genetics in the peony seedlings I'm growing. I can't wait to see what these peonies grow up to be 5 years from now!

Fallen Seeds of Peony 'Raspberry Firefly'

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2015 Vintage American Peony Society Annual Show Pin

American Peony Society 20th Annual Show Pin from 1923

I am really excited about another vintage find on Ebay this past week! I purchased an American Peony Society 20th Annual Show Pin from 1923. I had seen this pin listed for sale several months ago, but they wanted more than $40 for it. They recently dropped the price down to $25. I decided I could afford that. ;-) So now I have another American Peony Society collectible to add to my collection of Vintage American Peony Society Award Ribbons and American Peony Society Silver Medal. Just think, in another 8 years, this pin will be an antique! :-)