Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Why I Love Saunders Peonies (& You Should Too!)


Early Blooming A. P. Saunders Herbaceous Peonies

If you haven't discovered any of A. P. Saunder's herbaceous peonies (or have a whole collection of them) yet, then you should definitely give them a try. There are so many reasons to love these early hybrids, here are mine:

1. Foliage - Their early foliage usually creeps out of the ground 1 or 2 weeks before any of my other peonies, which really builds excitement for the peony bloom season.

2. Early Blooms - Also most of them are early bloomers, giving my garden colorful blooms before some of my peonies have even fully woken up and developed their buds.

3. Lots of Colors - They don't just come in light pink and white. There are fire engine reds, light yellows, pale pinks, whites, corals, shocking pinks, and lavender too!

Even though last year I had Saunders Peony Varieties Frozen Bud Blast, several were unaffected, and some still put on a good early show! So if you are eager to expand your peony bloom season, check out the extensive list of A. P. Saunders herbaceous hybrid peonies. I grow so many of them, but there are still so many more I want to grow!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016 Ten Years of Southern Peony Blooms

To celebrate 10 years of blooms here at Southern Peony, I decided to put together this peony bloom photo collage. It contains one bloom from each of the 10 years - 2005-2015. I have added this collage to my Peony Bloom Dates page. So if you ever need to stare at its mesmerizing beauty, you can do so anytime you like! I have organized this Peony Bloom Dates page a little, giving it some new headers, and cleaned my peony bloom offset data a bit more - removing some mislabeled peonies I have given away and updating some incorrect Asian characters. Also if you're curious about the cultivars in the collage, they are... Peony 'Blue Lagoon', Peony 'Morning Lilac', Peony 'Muskoka', Peony 'Cora Louise', Peony 'Rose Heart', Peony 'Lemon Chiffon', Peony 'Firelight', Peony 'Pink Hawaiian Coral', and Peony 'Lavender', and Peony 'Coral Magic'!

10 Years of Southern Peony Blooms!

Monday, February 22, 2016

2016 Ten Years of Peony Bloom Data!

Yay! After finishing my 2016 Peony Data Entry in Winter Time, I finally have ten years of peony bloom data. I think I finally have enough to start publishing it on my site now. Last year was the first year I got my Peony Bloom Data in a Peony Database. This past week I spent some time analyzing and cleaning my data, reloading my old data, and adding last year's new data into the database. I still feel like the data could be better with more of it, but I suppose that will come with time. For now, I plan to publish peony bloom dates based on the offset from Peony 'Red Charm', which is the currently accepted method. However, I may add or change the reporting method in the future. For now, here's the scoop... Check out my Peony Bloom Dates page! :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

2016 3-Trunked Monster Down = More Sun for Peonies


Ice Storm Damage to Three Trunked Monster Tree

Well, the ice storm did a number on the big oak tree in our back yard. Remember the 3 trunked monster I told you about last year that was eating all of the sun in my back yard and caused me to do my own Southern Peony Big Dig - Part Shade to Full Sun? Well, all three of the trunks were leaning/growing at angle, and we got so much ice in the big ice storm we had this winter, that one of those giant trunks just cracked completely in half. It's just as well. I had been wanting to cut this oak tree down for a couple of years now. I do think it served its purpose well. It provided years of shade for my daughter while playing in the back yard, a nice perch for all of the birds visiting our back yard feeder, and now it will provide wood for our fireplace next winter and several winters to come! Now that it's gone, the remaining peonies that didn't get moved in the big dig, will be much happier now with so much more sunshine. When this tree was small, the peonies near it grew well since it was so small and short, but as this tree grew over the years, the peonies actually started to dwindle, growing fewer stems and making fewer blooms each year. Here's hoping the sun will make them happy, and they will start to increase again!
Three Trunked Monster Tree
Three Stumped Monster

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2016 Peonies with Early Dormancy Foliage

Here in the South, it gets colder much later in the year. So peonies generally have a much longer growing season here than they do in the North. Many peonies will hold their foliage through October and into November. However, some peonies' foliage does go into early dormancy, dying back much earlier than most other peonies. This is a list of peonies whose foliage dried up, turned brown, and died back by the end of September. These are the peonies I cut back on October 1st because their foliage was already brown. Don't worry - this is normal. Some peonies just die back earlier than others. Often many coral colored peonies have this genetic trait, as well as many early blooming peonies. This is definitely not a complete list, just the ones I happened to notice this year. This list may be helpful for home gardeners who are worried about their plant, or who want to plan their garden space so that another plant will brighten the area, or perhaps they want to use their peonies for landscaping purposes and want to make sure the peonies' foliage is going to stick around as long as possible. (These plants would not be good for long lasting landscape foliage.) However, they would be great to pair with fall blooming plants that need room to grow and flower in the fall!


Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'
Dying Back Earlier Than Other Peony Varieties


Peonies with Early Dormancy Foliage
Ann Berry Cousins
Athena
Carina
Coral Charm
Coral Fay
Coral Sunset
Cytherea
Early Fernleaf
Early Scout
Flame
Grace Root
Great Lady
Henry Bockstoce
Lemon Chiffon
Ludovica
Lustrous
Many Happy Returns
Moonrise
Nosegay
Paladin
Rose Garland
Skylark
Sunshine

So if you have one of these peonies that starts to look brown in late summer, don't worry! It's okay. It is just going dormant a little earlier than the rest of its friends. It's just taking a rest and will be back to greet you again next spring!

Peony with Early Dormancy Foliage

Sunday, February 14, 2016

2016 Favorite Peonies at APS Convention Flower Show

Since it is wintertime and there aren't any peony blooms in sight anywhere, I figured it would be a good time to publish my favorite peony blooms from the 2015 American Peony Society Convention. Never before seen photos of gorgeous peonies from the 2015 APS Convention, who wouldn't want to see that in the dead of winter? :-) Just pull out that Peony Wish List for Next Year you been dreaming up, because you're going to need to add a few more peonies to it... Plus, if you haven't Registered for the 2016 American Peony Society Convention yet, you just got another reason - make that eleven more reasons! :-) So check out this eye candy - hopefully it will keep you warm. :-) Happy Valentine's Day!

Peony 'Sonoma Halo'

Peony 'Black Swan'
Peony 'Rosy Prospects'
Peony 'Early Canary'
Peony 'Lois Choice'
Tree Peony 'Leda'
Peony 'Cherry Ruffles'
Peony 'Pastelegance'
Peony 'Henry Bockstoce'
Peony 'Christmas Velvet'


Peony 'Douglas Brand'

Thursday, February 11, 2016

2016 APS Convention Travel Booked


Ebates Cash Back on Travel

I had already Registered for the 2016 American Peony Society Convention back in January. Now I have booked my travel too! Yay! If you're planning to go to the APS Convention, and you haven't booked your travel yet, I found a great deal on Expedia. I usually use Orbitz, but my travel was $100 cheaper on Expedia. Plus, you can get 10% cash back on flight/hotel combos if you go through Ebates first. Ebates is a rebate site that pays you actual cash for buying things online. I have been a member of Ebates for almost 10 years now (since 2007), and I have already saved over $1000! Also if you haven't made your reservation for the 2016 American Peony Society Convention, now's the time to do it before the tour buses sell out! I hope to see you all in Green Bay!

American Peony Society Convention Green Bay Trip Booked

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 Truck Load of New Mulch for Peonies

I was happily surprised to get a call last week while I was at work asking if I still needed a truck load of mulch. I had been worrying about getting some ever since the last guy I knew who would bring me free mulch had his phone number disconnected. I had called around to several tree service companies inquiring about free wood chips a couple weeks ago, but I hadn't heard anything yet. So I was very grateful when I got this call. The tree service man kept asking me was I sure I needed a whole truck load? Each time I replied Yes! I told him I was away, but he was more than welcome to leave it at the end of my driveway. So on Friday when I got home from work, I found this beautiful, very large pile of mulch in my driveway. Now I can keep the weeds at bay around my peonies while gradually adding valuable organic matter to the soil over time. :-)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 Intersectional Peonies Suffered Frozen Bud Blast

Nope. Not even all of the intersectional peonies were able to withstand that late cold winter blast last spring. You would think with their tough guy image and strong tree peony like woody stems, they would just shrug off a cold blast. Unfortunately some varieties had blasted buds and some had both blasted buds and a reduction in blooms from the previous year. Not all of my intersectional peonies are rated here. Some of them were too small and/or immature to evaluate or there was not enough data to make a proper evaluation. Check out the table below to see who suffered in the cold...

Intersectional Peonies with Buds Blasted by Late Freeze
Peony Variety
2015 Bloom
2014 Bloom
Blast Rate
Bloom Reduction
Peony 'Little Darlin'
0 of 3
4 of 4
100%
100%
Peony 'Scarlet Heaven'
0 of 2
2 of 2
100%
100%
Peony 'Morning Lilac'
1 of 3
8 of 8
67%
88%
Peony 'Pastel Splendor'
3 of 3
10 of 10
0%
70%
Peony 'Sonoma Amethyst'
7 of 7
16 of 21
0%
56%
Peony 'Julia Rose'
8 of 8
10 of 10
0%
20%
Peony 'Garden Treasure'
13 of 16
15 of 15
19%
13%


2015 Intersectional Peony Garden

There were however several varieties which did shrug off that winter cold, seemingly unaffected by the late frost, that did not suffer any reduction in bloom or bud blast. These intersectional peonies all increased (or maintained) their bloom counts. Only one of these varieties suffered some bud blast. I am amazed to see three of Don Smith's Japanese named Intersectional Peonies sold by Monrovia as the top three in this list! I'm guessing the other Japanese named peony in that collection is not on this list only because it was too immature in my garden to evaluate. I am also not surprised to see Peony 'Cora Louise' on this list which was nominated for the APS Gold Medal last year, and it almost won, Peony 'Bartzella' which already won the APS Gold Medal in 2006, and Peony 'Keiko' a 2015 Southern Peony Best Performer.

Intersectional Peonies Unaffected by Late Freeze
Peony Variety
2015 Bloom
2014 Bloom
Blast Rate
Bloom Increase
Peony 'Yumi' 由美 (Possess Beauty)
3 of 3
0 of 0
0%
300%
Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored)
35 of 35
9 of 9
0%
288%
Peony 'Takara' 慈悲 (Treasure)
19 of 19
6 of 6
0%
216%
Peony 'Cora Louise'
11 of 11
5 of 5
0%
120%
Peony 'Copper Kettle'
2 of 4
1 of 1
50%
100%
Peony 'Yellow Crown'
11 of 11
6 of 6
0%
83%
Peony 'Bartzella'
7 of 7
4 of 5
0%
75%
Peony 'White Emperor'
9 of 9
9 of 9
0%
0%


Intersectional Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored)

Friday, February 5, 2016

2016 Mid Season Peonies Suffered Frozen Bud Blast

After finishing my 2016 Peony Data Entry in Winter Time, I remembered not just how many 2015 Early Peonies Suffered Frozen Bud Blast, but also how many mid season peonies suffered bud blast last year as well. It was painfully obvious during my data entry when Peony 'Red Charm' did not even have a bloom date since all of its buds were blasted (and Peony 'Red Charm's bloom date is usually used as the basis for the bloom date offset). I have already compiled the data on my early blooming Saunders peonies that suffered bud blast, 2015 Saunders Peony Varieties Frozen Bud Blast. So here are the midseason peonies in my garden that suffered bud blast from the late winter cold we received last year. Since midseason peonies develop a little later than early season peonies, most of their buds were very small when they were blasted by the cold. So there was not a large bud that had turned brown as evidence of the bud blast. Instead these varieties usually bloom reliably, and they either didn't bloom at all or their blooms were severely reduced. Also I'm listing a few more early varieties that are not Saunders varieties (so they weren't on my previous list).
Early Peonies with Buds Blasted by Late Freeze
Peony Variety
2015 Bloom
2014 Bloom
Blast Rate
Bloom Reduction
Peony 'Early Scout' (Early)
0 of 3
7 of 7
100%
100%
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow' (Early)
3 of 15
10 of 12
80%
70%
Peony 'Coral Fay' (Early)
6 of 6
12 of 12
0%
50%

2015 Peony 'Coral Fay' Plant
2014 Peony 'Coral Fay' Plant


Midseason Peonies with Buds Blasted by Late Freeze
Peony Variety
2015 Bloom
2014 Bloom
Blast Rate
Bloom Reduction
Peony 'Red Charm'
0 of 4
5 of 5
100%
100%
Peony 'First Lady'
0 of 3
4 of 4
100%
100%
Peony 'Nymphe'
0 of 0
3 of 4
100%
100%
Peony 'Pink Princess'
1 of 4
7 of 7
75%
86%
Peony 'Pillow Talk'
2 of 4
11 of 12
50%
82%
Peony 'Kansas'
7 of 11
39 of 44
36%
82%
Peony 'Myra MacRae'
7 of 7
38 of 42
0%
82%
Peony 'Doris Cooper'
2 of 4
9 of 13
50%
78%
Peony 'Solange'
9 of 13
32 of 32
31%
72%
Peony 'Cherry Charm'
4 of 5
14 of 14
20%
71%
Peony 'My Love'
9 of 9
30 of 34
0%
70%
Peony 'Guidon'
14 of 17
44 of 63
18%
68%
Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'
1 of 4
3 of 3
75%
66%
Peony 'Many Happy Returns'
3 of 7
8 of 8
57%
63%
Peony 'Do Tell'
5 of 9
13 of 16
44%
62%
Peony 'Kelway's Glorious'
7 of 7
15 of 23
0%
53%
Peony 'America'
2 of 5
4 of 5
60%
50%
Peony 'Bowl of Cream'
5 of 8
8 of 10
38%
38%
Peony 'White Frost'
14 of 15
22 of 24
7%
36%
Peony 'Rose Heart'
4 of 7
6 of 6
43%
33%

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Peony Data Entry in Winter Time

I finally finished inputting the data I collected during the 2015 peony season last night. That ruler is to help me stay on the correct line. I think next year I need to go to two pages. The print is just getting way too small to keep everything on one page. Also my baby bear, Isabella, was keeping me company during this tedious work. Her smile made it a bit more manageable. I am looking forward to analyzing the data to see what it will reveal. I now have 10 years of bloom data. Now that I have 10 years' worth of data, it's time to put that 2015 Peony Bloom Data in Peony Database to good use! Look for some bloom data coming out sometime this year on my Bloom Dates page. :-)

The only problem I had with this year's data is that my Peony 'Red Charm' didn't bloom at all since its buds were blasted by our late winter storm, 2015 Early Peonies Suffered Frozen Bud Blast. So I don't have an offset date. After examining the last five years' worth of data, it looks like my Peony 'Grace Root' has bloomed within 1 day of Red Charm in 4 out of 5 years. So it sounds like Peony 'Grace Root's bloom date may be a suitable offset date for the 2015 data. Also Peony anemoneflora's bloom date was within 1 day of Red Charm in 3 out of 5 years and both Peony 'Grace Root' and Peony anemoneflora bloomed on the same date in 2015. So this will be my 2015 offset date, April 24th. I know the bloom date of Peony 'Red Charm' has been used as an offset date to calculate bloom times for peonies in the past. However, I'm not sure I'm convinced that it is a sounds scientific method. I may use bloom mean or median date, or some type of combination of these.

Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 Peony Photos on Main Page

Southern Peony now has 50 peony pictures in our Photos section! This month, for February, we are featuring the soft pink Peony 'Roselette' on our main page and have also added it to our peony Photos page. Each month we add a new peony photo to our main page and to our Photo archive. That way it steadily grows and gives you all something new to look at (and lust after). ;-) This archive can also be used as a reference for identifying your own peonies or finding new ones you'd like to grow. I started this project in 2012, adding watermarks and larger photos in 2013, wrote about it in 2014 Southern Peony Photos, and it has been growing steadily since. If there is particular peony in my Inventory list that you'd like me to add a photo of, please leave a comment and let me know or send me an email, and I will try to add it if I already have a good photo of it. If I don't already have a good photo of it, I will try to get one this spring! Happy (Peony) Gardening!

Peony 'Roselette'