Saturday, October 7, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Tour of Southern Peony's Garden


Southern Peony Gardens


APS Members Enjoying Watermelon
APS Tour of Southern Peony

Even though there was not a peony on any peony bush in my yard, I was still thrilled to give my fellow American Peony Society members a tour of my garden, here at Southern Peony. It was a bright day with blue skies, and thankfully, no rain. It was definitely on the warmer side. So I had plenty of watermelon (and water!) to try to keep people cool. Also I managed to save a few of my smaller peony side buds in the fridge (the main buds had to go into the American Peony Society Convention Flower Exhibition), for display in vases on my back deck.

Peony Side Buds in Blue Glass Vase
APS Tour of Southern Peony


APS Memebers in Intersectional Peony Garden
APS Tour of Southern Peony

I also made laminated peony signs to place all around my garden to show people what kind of peonies were planted where. I had signs for Intersectional Peonies, Pink Peonies, Red Peonies, Single Peonies, Double Peonies, Tree Peonies, etc. I think it was helpful for people to visualize what kind of peonies I grow. I was also very happy to have so many growers get a better look at how peonies grow here in the South.
Peony Signs
APS Tour of Southern Peony


Pecan Sandies and Watermelon
APS Tour of Southern Peony

I hope everyone was able to take away something from the Southern Peony garden tour, a new idea for their garden, a new peony they'd like to grow, a new perspective on growing peonies in warmer climates, or whatever it may be. I was certainly pleased to host everyone and had a great time showing you all my garden, and I hope everyone had a great time here as well. Thank you to the American Peony Society for giving Southern Peony this opportunity, and thank you to all of the APS Members that attended the 2017 APS Convention and the Southern Peony tour!


APS Members and Me
APS Tour of Southern Peony

P.S. - Thank you to my friend, Janice, and my sister in law, Caz, for taking these lovely photos!

Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Convention Tour of Plant Delights Nursery & Juniper Level Botanic Garden


Tony Avent Leading the American Peony Society Tour
of Plant Delights Nursery

Everyone seemed to enjoy the witty antics and educational tour given by Plant Delights Nursery owner, Tony Avent. He showed off all kinds of rare plant hardier than their "normal" growing zones and told us about his current mission - to continue to find and spread rare plants far and wide for the people for prosperity for the earth's own genetic biodiversity. He also shared with us about his plans to end his nursery business within 10 years, while he's set up a fund that he would like to build up between now and then so that the Juniper Level Botanic Garden will be fully self funded and continue into perpetuity for all future generations to enjoy, share in, and learn from.

Canna Lilies at Plant Delights Nursery


Purple Flower at Plant Delights Nursery


Century Plant at Plant Delights Nursery

Tony also shared with us about his mission of busting gardening myths. Growing daylilies beside hostas (sun and shade) and acidic plants near basic ones. He likes to try to grow plants outside of their normal USDA growing zones. He shared with us that the Juniper Level Botanic Garden does not use any fertilizers whatsoever - that their focus is on the preparation of the soil, which is 50% local dirt (mostly sand where he lives) and 50% compost that is made on site.

Tony Concludes the American Peony Society Tour
of Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Tony also boasted that Juniper Level Botanic Garden is in the top %5 of gardens worldwide in terms of biodiversity, which is really impressive. (However I think he really want to be #1). :-) The garden includes over 22,000 taxa of plant life. After our tour, we all took a break in the shade and enjoyed our local NC Barbeque lunch with vinegar-based pulled pork barbeque, fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, and hush puppies. All in all, I think this might have been our best garden tour this year.
Daniel, Sheryl, Anna, Richard, John, & Adrienne
Me & Tony Avent
Nate, David, & Jim
Joyce, Jennifer, & Jeff
Eileen & Don
Louise, Kathleen, & Marie
Piet, Vriends, Lia, & Dick
Carolyn (My Grandma) & Me

Thursday, June 8, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Convention Tour of JC Raulston Arboretum

Our tour bus dropped us off right at the new archway entrance for the JC Raulston Arboretum, a stainless steel archway with Japanese Maple leaves scattered throughout, giving it the effect of a sky of silver stars. Mark Weathington, Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum greeted our group at their Visitors Center, not far from the arched entrance. We toured their Scree and Xeric Gardens, Asian Valley - which did include some tree peonies, traditional Japanese Gardens - one of my favorites, Lath House, Plantsmen's Woods - which contained the bulk of the peonies donated by the American Peony Society. We also toured their Rose Garden which is now mixed with other perennials and their White Garden. Mark mentioned that they have over 6000 species of plants on just 10 acres. So if you'd like to see all kinds of plants in a more condensed setting, JC Raulston Arboretum is the place to find them all!

Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum,
Greets us at their Visitor Center

2017 American Peony Society Convention Tour of Duke Chapel


Duke Chapel on Duke University Campus

I had been to Duke Chapel before, but I had never learned as much as I did when I toured it with the American Peony Society. When we first arrived, we had a bit of free time where we were allowed to walk freely around the chapel. People admired the architecture, the stained glass windows, and the fresh flowers. Eventually people started settling into the pews at the front of the chapel, and our tour guide, a current member of the chapel's choir, met us there and gave us a great talk. We learned about the 4 organs in the chapel, how they were cleaned and restored, the chapel building and its architecture and materials (stone at the bottom and a terra cotta like tile at the top), what the chapel is used for today - a interdenominational Christian church. There are no members, just participants, and although it looks like a Cathedral, it cannot be called one since it is not affiliated with the Catholic church and uses no religious hierarchy.

APS Members Listening to Tour Guide's Talk

We also learned about the gorgeous stained glass windows in the chapel, how the windows' color is not painted but infused into the glass, giving it its richness. Each window is unique, and the larger windows placed higher in the chapel have figures from the Old Testament of the Bible, while the smaller windows placed nearer to the ground level have scenes from the New Testament of the Bible. He also mentioned that the original window drawings and plans were burned when the artists attempted to put their own initials into some of the windows. However in the 1980s a grad student of the University was granted permission to install temporary scaffolding to document each window photographically and created a book about the windows.

Stained Glass Windows in Duke Chapel

2017 American Peony Society Convention Tour of Duke Gardens


American Peony Society Group Photo at Duke Gardens

The next morning of the APS Convention Tour, we boarded the bus at 8am for our first day of garden tours. When we arrived at Duke Gardens, we were met and greeted by the Director of Horticulture for Duke Gardens, Bobby Mottern. He spoke to us in their Angle Amphitheater overlooking their Peace Pond. Then our group was divided into four smaller groups each with a guide to take us through the gardens. Our group visited the White Garden, Fern Grotto, Learning Center, Moss Garden, Peony Collection, Arched Bridge, Japanese Garden, and finally the Terrace Overlook. The view was amazing!

Our Tour Group Visiting the Doris Duke Gardens


Linette Photographing the Japanese Iris

After our tour we met the rest of our American Peony Society group on South Lawn for lunch. We enjoyed delicious boxed lunches with turkey, ham, or roast beef sandwhiches with chips, pasta salad, a pickle, and of course a chocolate chip cookie! During our lunch break I had an opportunity to look at and walk inside of the Patrick Dougherty sculpture on the South Lawn. This art installation was made with natural materials, mostly wood branches that had been shaped and formed into this huge group of sculptures, which resembled a wooden Stonehenge. Overall it was a nice tour, with good (although a bit warm) weather!

Don Hollingsworth and Piet Enjoying their Lunch Break

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Convention Picnic at Pullen Park


American Peony Society Picnic at Pullen Park

The welcome picnic for the American Peony Society's 2017 Convention was held at North Carolina's first (and best) public park, Pullen Park. Peony friends met in the Round Pavilion Picnic Shelter for a nice spaghetti dinner with salad, garlic bread, and iced tea. It was nice to see old peony friends and meet some new ones. It was also nice to have Virginia Tech students and staff represented there who are researching successfully storing and extending the life of peony cut flowers. Convention attendees were able to pick up their convention registration materials in their APS bags. All in all the picnic was a nice start to the 2017 American Peony Society Convention!

Mike & Becky
American Peony Society Picnic at Pullen Park

Lia & Dick
Jim & Robert
Virginia Techies
Daniel, Joyce, & Rachel
Isabella, Maddox, & Adriana

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Convention Preparation

I know it's been a while since I've posted on here, but I have just been super busy, planning the convention, getting my garden ready for the tour, and just generally going crazy! LOL! I am so excited for the convention, and since I'll have lots of jobs to do this year and a drive home each night, I most likely won't have a play by play for this year's convention. I do promise to take lots of pictures, though (as usual), and I will try to post some convention updates later on. As you can see below, I've been busy getting the APS Convention materials ready to go. If you are coming to the convention, I'll see you soon! :-)

American Peony Society Convention Materials

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2017 Tree Peony Seeds from Canada Sprout!

I was beginning to wonder if any of those 2016 Paeonia rockii Purple Tree Peony Seeds that were sent to me as a replacement for the 2015 Purple Peony Rockii Seeds from Ebay Canada were going to sprout. Since none of the seeds from the original batch sprouted, I was worried that the second batch might not sprout either. However it seems the second batch of seeds were good because I now have 5 baby P. rockii tree peony seedlings from the second batch of seeds! How exciting! I am curious to see if any of these grow into a lovely purple flower with dark purple flares like the mother plant. Now that the seeds have actually sprouted, the only thing to do now is wait for a bloom! :-)

P. rockii Seeds Sprout

Sunday, May 7, 2017

2017 Peony Blooms Week 5 Mid Late Season

I obviously did not take enough pictures this week. I have been spending lots of time this year trying to get my garden "tour ready" for the 2017 American Peony Society Convention in Raleigh, NC. Plus it seems the peonies are blooming in different weeks this year as well, condensing the bloom season a bit. I think this is a symptom of the very warm, then very cold early spring weather we experienced in February and March, 2017 Protect Peonies from Super Cold Overnight Temps. So I decided to combine the Herbaceous and Intersectional bloom pictures this week. Peony 'Angel Cheeks' is always a stellar performer here and is a Southern Peony Best Performer. Intersectional Peony 'Sequestered Sunshine' really is that yellow! I hope your peony bloom season is going well!

Peony 'Angel Cheeks'


Peony 'Peony Victoire de le Marne'


Intersectional Peony 'Sequestered Sunshine'


Intersectional Peony 'Pairie Charm'

Friday, May 5, 2017

2017 Red Tree Peony Seeds Sprout!


Red Tree Peony Seedlings Sign

Remember those red tree peony seeds I planted this past fall, 2016 Planting Red Tree Peony Seeds from Georgia? Well, I was beginning to think that they weren't coming up, that perhaps there were not actually viable. However about 2 weeks ago, I finally noticed a few green things popping up in that spot (that weren't weeds). LOL! So far I have 6 baby tree peony seedlings from those 2016 Red Tree Peony Seeds from SP Reader in GA. I'm guessing a few more peony seedlings may still pop up. If not this year, then perhaps next spring. We shall see!

Red Tree Peony Seedlings


Red Tree Peony Seedlings


Red Tree Peony Seedlings

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

2017 Intersectional Peony Blooms Week 4 Mid

This week there was still a nice range of colors in the intersectional peony blooms. Peony 'Sonoma Rosy Future' bloomed for me for the first time this year with blooms! What an awesome plant! Peony 'Yumi' also bloomed for this first time in my garden this year, since the first root I got of it was the wrong plant. Peony 'Yumi' is a big bright clear yellow intersectional peony with lots of petals arranged in a nice symmetrical pattern. I really like it too! Peony 'Old Rose Dandy' has an interesting coloring, and Peony 'Cora Louise' is a reliable garden standard with huge blooms and a nice white/purple contrast on its petals.

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Rosy Future'


Intersectional Peony 'Old Rose Dandy'


Intersectional Peony 'Yumi'


Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise'

Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 Peony 'Topeka Garnet' Best Performer - Week 4

I must say that I have been very impressed with how fast Peony 'Topeka Garnet' has developed in my garden. It has grown from 3 stems, to 7 stems, to 10 stems, to 12 stems, to now 15 stems this year. Each year its bud and blooms counts have been steadily increasing as well. This peony stands up in the face of heat, rain, and wind. It definitely thrives here in our warm Southern climate. This photo was taken after a big storm. As you can see a few of the blooms have been open for a few days and yet the bright red color is unaffected. The blooms have such good substance and the petals are so tough that they hang on even through a storm, giving you a nice red petaled show! The number of flowers on the bush is amazing, and I'd even already cut two stems to enter into the APS Exhibition this year! Peony 'Topeka Garnet' was hybridized by Bigger and registered in 1975. If you are looking for a good mid season red to add to your collection, I would highly recommend Peony 'Topeka Garnet'!

Peony 'Topeka Garnet'
Southern Peony Best Performer


Peony 'Topeka Garnet'
Southern Peony Best Performer