Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Red Tree Peony Seeds from SP Reader in GA

Southern Peony Reader Photo - Red Tree Peony

Remember the Red Tree Peony photo from a Southern Peony reader from Georgia, USA that I posted earlier this year on Facebook? Well somehow I got lucky enough for him to offer to send me some seeds from the plant. These "Red Tree Peony" seeds just arrived last week, and there are 56 seeds in the bag. I am really excited to see what these seeds have to offer. The bloom on the mother plant is just gorgeous. So I am thrilled to see what the babies may look like. I might wait another week or two before I plant these out in my peony seedling test bed since it has been so hot and dry here the past couple weeks. We just got another rain storm that just wet the pavement yesterday, but it didn't rain enough to measure. We are still waiting for a big rain storm! At this point a weakened hurricane that just sits on top of us for a little while wouldn't hurt. Even though that much rain would start to wash everything away (like mulch), it would be better to have plants that are well watered and missing some mulch than well-mulched plants that are dying of thirst!

Red Tree Peony Seeds from a SP Reader in Georgia, USA

Saturday, August 20, 2016

2016 Extended Dry Period Makes Some Peonies Crispy

We've been lucky with the rain so far this year - until now! This has been the first completely dry 10 day period we've had all summer! Some years my grass is crispy in June! (and more often by July). However, this year my grass hasn't gotten crispy until now, well into August, (and only some of it is crispy) which is great. However, I think all of the plants in my yard have gotten used to the adequate supply of water in the form of rainfall. I rarely water my peonies unless they are already drooping in early summer - in which case I'll sometimes give them a drink so they can make it to the next rainfall.

Peony 'Flame' and Peony 'Prairie Moon'

I think I noticed foliage on this Peony 'Prairie Moon' had become crispy a bit too late. As you can see the foliage on it already looks wilted and crispy. So I did try watering it a couple days in a row, hoping it would perk up a little, but so far it hasn't. As you can see the foliage on the peony next to it, Peony 'Flame' looks just fine. So right now only a very few peonies have been affected. We just got our first rain after this extended dry period last night. However, we only got enough to wet the back deck, but not enough to measure in the rain gauge. So I am hoping for some more rain tonight. It looks like there's about a 50% chance of rain in the forecast today, and then another extended stretch of dry weather. It seems like I'll be watering again this coming week!

Crispy Peony 'Prairie Moon'

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

2016 Planting First Intersectional Peony Seeds

First Intersectional Peony Seeds from
Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' and Peony 'Martha W.'

I have been mulling over where and how to plant these seeds. I am sure I am putting way too much thought into this. I'm also sure that Mother Nature would likely take much better care of these tiny seeds than I could or would have the time to. So I definitely want to plant them outside somewhere, just where is the question. I have been considering planting them with mulch, without mulch, or maybe even in a peat pot planted in the ground to try to protect it from bugs and critters. I am leaning toward the latter, and even have a few peat pots sitting in my Amazon shopping cart waiting to be checked out.

First Intersectional Peony Seeds Planted in Peat Pots

I did end up ordering the peat pots from Amazon, deciding that I'd try a mix of Mother Nature with (hopefully) a little extra protection from the peat pots. There were 7 seeds total from my 2016 First Intersectional Peony Seeds! harvest this year. There were 2 seeds from Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' and 5 seeds from Peony 'Martha W.' So I got them all lined out and planted. I filled the peat pots with composted cow manure and a bit of soil. I dug a small trench and sunk all 7 peat pots into the ground. Then I pressed one seed into each pot with my finger, and I sprinkled a half a teaspoon of Eco Scraps Organic Fresh Start Plant Food over each peat pot. This fertilizer's N-P-K ratio is 2-14-0 and it designed for "optimum root growth". I'm hoping that this fertilizer will help these baby peony seedlings grow strong roots whenever they sprout!

Eco Scraps Fresh Start Organic Plant Food
and Peony Seeds in Peat Pots

After I sprinkled a little bit of the fertilizer over each peat pot, I firmed the soil up, around, and over the pots. Then I pushed a bit of mulch over the soil covered pots. Lastly I watered them in a bit to make sure they are moist. This particular spot near my house usually is pretty moist already. So hopefully I won't have water them very much. I may pull a bit of the mulch back in the spring just in case there is too much mulch cover. I can't wait to see how many of these will sprout in the spring! The outer casing of one of the Martha W. seeds had already cracked open. I'm not sure if that one will sprout. I put it at the top of the row so I can keep track of it and find out later whether it actually sprouts. We'll see!

Peat Pot with Peony Seed, Compost, Soil, and Plant Food

Sunday, August 14, 2016

2016 American Peony Society 1932 Silver Medal

1932 American Peony Society Silver Medal on Ebay

I must say I was pleasantly surprised to find this 1932 American Peony Society Silver Medal on Ebay a couple weeks ago. I just won the auction a few days ago, and paid for it this weekend. You might remember that I happened upon a similar American Peony Society medal a few years ago, 2013 American Peony Society Silver Medal, on Etsy. So now I will have two pieces of American Peony Society history to keep and preserve. However, the most exciting part of finding this medal is finding a piece of American Peony Society history. The entire text of the inscription on the back of the medal reads:


The first medal I found was from the 70s. This one is from the 30s. That's almost 40 years earlier! In another 16 years this medal will be an antique! That is really cool. I wonder if anyone has any medals that are already antiques? After checking the APS web site, for APS Gold Medal and APS Best in Show, it looks like the only earlier awards were issued in 1923, 1926, and 1931. So it seems like there may only be a handful of older medals out there - if they awarded medals with those prizes. It is just so exciting to find a piece of peony history!

1932 American Peony Society Silver Medal
Awarded to Angus Macauly

A special thanks to Reiner, our APS historian for helping me find this text about the 1932 peony show. I found the bits about the happiness of all despite the depression quite interesting...

The Duluth Peony Show
By Mrs. J. M. Sellwood, Duluth, Minn.
TIME has had both feet and wings, I guess, since our show and I can hardly believe that it is so far passed.

We had one grand show; a beautiful room with a marvelous background for staging a peony show. The show was held in the ballroom of the Hotel Duluth, July 1-2. 1932. The hotel staff’s co-operation was so fine that it did not seem possible to me, as chairman, that we were actually staging a bigger and better show than ever.

We had fifteen entries in the classes calling for twenty blooms, one named variety; and in the class calling for ten blooms, one named variety, we had twenty-two entries. They were certainly gorgeous

The weather been fine here this year and the peony only added to its already superior reputation among the gardens here.

Walter Faxon was our best flower this year and seemed to be good in every class where it was entered.

We forty-four exhibitors, many of whom entered every class possible. We had new ones and old ones and the best part of it, everyone seemed happy. I was a little fearful that the depression spirit might mar the event, but somehow the flowers won’t permit, I guess.

Angus Macauley of 106 Waverly Place, Duluth, won the silver medal for the highest points in the show, having thirty-five points. He was tied with the Fond du Lac Flower Gardens but a flip of a coin won the medal for Mr. Macauley. Joe Priley of the Fond du Lac Flower Gardens, Fond du Lac, Minn., won the Peony Manual.

Thirty-six classes were provided to cover and everyone from the novice to the professional was provided for. The judges were A. M. Brand, Faribault, Minn.; A. B. Franklin, Minneapolis, Minn.; C. A. Pfeiffer, Winona, Minn., and John M. Kleitsch Duluth, Minn. The artistic arrangements were judged by Miss Indianola Willcuts, of Duluth. This was the seventeenth annual show of the Duluth Peony Society.

An excerpt of The American Peony Society Bulletin
December, 1932 Vol. 33 No. 52

Saturday, August 13, 2016

2016 Peony Companions Coreopsis (Tickseed)

Wow! I have just discovered Coreopsis this year! What a wonderful plant! This particular variety is Coreopsis 'Garnet'. The bright medium pink flowers of this coreopsis pair well with the almost lime green foliage of Peony 'Gay Paree'. Also Coreopsis (also commonly known as Tickseed) flowers from summer to frost, which nicely fills the flower void left by peonies after spring time. Coreopsis comes in many colors - from yellow to pink to orange to red. There are also some double flowering varieties available in golden yellow colors as well. Coreopsis are generally hardy in growing zone 4-9. Since Coreopsis growing zones match up well with peony growing zones, they afford all peonies lovers the opportunity to grow them as companion plants.

Peony 'Gay Paree' and Coreopsis 'Garnet'