Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Tree Peony Paeonia ostii at Plant Delights Nursery Open House


Tree Peony Paeonia ostii Bloom

I had the opportunity to visit Plant Delights Nursery's winter open house this weekend. Even though it was the winter open house, it really felt like late spring or early summer. The temperature got up to 80 degrees, and it was so nice to have a spring like day to peruse the hellebores in bloom. I wasn't even planning to look at the peonies, even though I did notice that Tony introduced a new peony for the first time ever in his spring catalog (Peony 'Golden Sunrise').

Tree Peony Paeonia ostii
However, I just happened by a wonderful tree peony in bloom, and it smelled so good! Someone had pulled it out of its greenhouse, and it was sitting near the checkout lane. It turned out to be a Paeonia ostii seedling, and lucky for me there were several of them in the greenhouse and a couple that still had blooms on them. Needless to say one of them made the ride home with me, and perfumed by car during the whole trip! The scent on this tree peony is just heavenly!


Haul from Plant Delights Nursery Open House
(Including a Tree Peony Paeonia ostii)

If you hadn't noticed yet, the American Peony Society will be taking a tour of Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic garden during the 2017 APS Annual Convention. If you haven't yet made your plans to join us, now is the time to get your registration in! You might actually end up taking one of these awesome tree peonies (and likely several more plant friends too) home with you from the conference. ;-) If you'd like to know more about this Paeonia ostii species tree peony, take a look below at the catalog description from Plant Delight's Nursery's online catalog.


Plant Delight Nursery Paeonia ostii

(syn: Paeonia suffruticosa ssp. ostii) From China's Gansu, Hunan, and surrounding provinces comes an endangered tree peony species that was first published in 1992 and named after Italian peony expert, Dr. Gian Lupo Osti. Similar to Paeonia rockii, the 5' tall Paeonia ostii has narrower leaves and is topped in very early spring (mid-April in NC) with over 100 large, 6-8" wide, sweetly fragrant flowers. Paeonia ostii is unquestionably one of the finest peonies we've ever grown. Flower color ranges from white to pale pink, highlighted by a dark red central blotch and bright yellow stamens. Our plants are flowering-sized plants grown in the US. Interestingly, the 2004 publication, "The Genus Paeonia" says, "This is another recently established Chinese taxon that has not yet been introduced in the West."

Friday, February 24, 2017

2017 Record February Temperatures Cause Peonies to Sprout Early


Peony 'Lustrous'

Weather forecasters all over the country are reporting record high temperatures this month. It is supposedly the 2nd warmest February on record here so far. This early spring warm up has some peonies popping up a bit early and sending new shoots and buds up too. Many of A. P. Saunder's early hybrid peonies are starting to come up - Peony 'Lustrous', Peony 'Red Red Rose', Peony 'Halcyon', and Peony 'Rose Garland'.
Peony 'Red Red Rose'
Peony 'Halcyon'
Peony 'Rose Garland'
Peony 'Prairie Moon'

Tree Peony
'White Phoenix'
Tree Peony
'White Phoenix'

The tree peonies are definitely farther along than the herbaceous peonies. It almost looks like we could get our first bloom in February, especially if these temperatures continue. It has been in the 70s or close to 70 all week! Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' looks like it may bloom first. However, the foliage on Tree Peony 'Kamata-nishiki' 鎌田錦 is definitely the most developed. I can't wait to see these peonies bloom, and I am wishing and hoping that we do not get a nasty cold snap!

Tree Peony 'Kamata-nishiki' 鎌田錦

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2017 Southern Peony Gets a New Look

You might have noticed... Southern Peony recently got a new look. The conversion took place a little at a time over the last month or so. Thank you for putting up with our construction dust while all of the new code was being put into place! I hope you all like the new look, and I think it is a huge improvement over our last look - more colors, more flowers, and of course more peonies! We've also given you the capability to like and share all of our posts on Facebook, and look for the capability to Pin your favorite Southern Peony photos to your own Pinterest board soon! I hope you find the new features, layout, and look to your liking and hope the new sharing features will enable you to share the love of peonies with everyone you know! :D

Southern Peony's New Look

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 Southern Peony Joins Pinterest

In light of the article I shared with the American Peony Society on Facebook, The PEONY makes a comeback as best-selling summer flower following Pinterest popularity, I have decided to create a Southern Peony Pinterest page. I only have a few pins so far. So there's not much to look at yet, but there is a lot more to come! Also I'll be looking at adding Pinterest support to this site as well, so that you can Pin your favorite Southern Peony pictures to your own Pinterest boards! I'm not sure exactly where this endeavor will lead, but I have a feeling that spreading the love of peonies far and wide is one of them! :-)

Southern Peony Joins Pinterest
Peony 'Kopper Kettle'

Friday, February 17, 2017

2017 Registered for American Peony Society Convention

It took a little longer this year, but I actually got it done 10 days ago! I am now officially registered for the 2017 American Peony Society Convention in Raleigh, NC. I can't wait to see everyone, and of course all of the gorgeous flowers! If you haven't taken the time to put your registration in, now's the time to do it! I know it's only February, but March is right around the corner and May will be here before you know it! You can send your registration in by Mail or do it all Online, whichever you prefer. There's also an opportunity this year to sit down to dinner with the American Peony Society Board Members. I hope to see you there! Now get to it, the peonies are waiting for you! ;-)
American Peony Society Registration Form
American Peony Society 2017 Convention Registration Form

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 Peony Bloom Clusters - Late Season

Yes, these blooms are a bit late - in the peony season and for Valentine's Day, but better late than never! This is the third part of a three-part series of peony "Bouquet on the Bush" photos from my bloom season last year. If you missed the first and second parts of this series, be sure to check them out, 2017 Peony Bloom Clusters - Early Season and 2017 Peony Bloom Clusters - Mid Season.

Peony 'Guidon'

Peony 'Guidon' has always been a favorite of mine. It has always been an easy bloomer, and Peony 'Guidon' is also a Southern Peony Best Performer. It is not uncommon for this gorgeous looker to have 4 or 5 blooms on each stem. It is also a very nice shade of lavender pink that just catches your eye. The only downside to this beauty is that its blooms are so large, and there are so many of them, if a rain storm is approaching, you should pick them all! These flowers would be perfect for a real bouquet!

Peony 'Top Hat'

Peony 'Top Hat' is another peony with 4 or 5 blooms on each stem. Although the flowers are not as large as Peony 'Guidon's', the less weighty blooms allow them to stay upright on their own for the most part. Also the flowers have sharply contrasting, bright and pale colors that are exciting to see. The bright fuchsia pink guard petals open to reveal a mixture of pinks and yellows that beget a pale orange coloring.

Peony 'Vivid Rose'

Peony 'Vivid Rose' is a stalwart of the late peony season garden. It always blooms reliably very late in the season, and is a nice addition to extend your peony bloom season. It is a pretty fragrant pink double peony (if you fancy that sort of thing) ;-) I hope you've enjoyed these peony "Bouquets on the Bush" and hopefully gained a few ideas about some floriferous peonies for your own garden!

Monday, February 13, 2017

2017 Peony Bloom Clusters - Mid Season

Flowers for everyone! Peonies of course, since they're the best! This is the second part of a three-part series of peony "Bouquet on the Bush" photos from my bloom season last year. If you missed the first part of the series, be sure to check it out, 2017 Peony Bloom Clusters - Early Season. Also keep your eyes peeled for part three coming soon! You won't want to miss any of these peony "Bouquet on the Bush" photos!

Peony 'Do Tell'

Peony 'Do Tell' is an American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner. It has a pretty double layer of soft, baby pink guard petals with a center that is always interesting. It can be wild and crazy like your hair when you get out of bed or softened a bit and mixed with tiny, thin baby pink petals as you see here. The colors are clear and unique - baby pink, hot pink, white, and a bit of yellow. I can't think of another peony just like it in color and form. Since the flower looks different every year, half the fun of this peony is waiting to see what it will look like this spring.

Intersectional Peony 'Scarlet Heaven'

Intersectional Peony 'Scarlet Heaven' is rare in the world of intersectional peonies for it bright red coloring, a feature not often found in this group of peonies. The color is certainly eye catching and will definitely stand out in your garden. Peony 'Sorbet' is a classic peony that will bloom its heart out for you. With so many buds per stem on Peony 'Sorbet', the blooms just keep coming after the first round has faded away.

Peony 'Sorbet'

Saturday, February 11, 2017

2017 Peony Bloom Clusters - Early Season

It being February and in honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to publish some peony "Bouquet on the Bush" photos from my bloom season last year. Everyone deserves flowers for Valentine's Day. So even if you don't have any live ones on the bush (neither do I), I would like to send some virtual peony bouquets out to my readers this year. This should definitely whet your appetite for the upcoming bloom season. This will be a 3-part series, with each part focusing on early, mid, and late varieties. Enjoy!

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Amethyst'

Peony 'Sonoma Amethyst' has fast become one of my most favorite peonies. It is a Southern Peony Best Performer and always has loads of uniquely lavender pink blooms. Can you believe it had 5 blooms all together on the bush like that? Awesome! Also with so many side buds, this beauty just keeps the blooms coming! If this peony is not yet in your garden, it definitely deserves a spot! :-)

Peony 'Blue Lagoon'

Peony 'Blue Lagoon' is a peony I purchased from Walmart years ago in a bag with cardboard attached for probably something like $5. It is obviously not any real registered peony. However, it has beautiful, bright fuchsia pink blooms and loads of them. So it gets to stay! The Peony Seedling are some blooms from a peony I grew from seed. The flowers are a clear pink and remind me a bit of Peony 'Sea Shell'.

Peony Seedling

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 Rough Winter on Early Peonies

I'm hoping for a bit steadier weather this late winter / early spring than we had last year. Usually everyone shares the pretty peony photos. Here I wanted to share the ugly ones. What happens when an early spring warm up meets late winter temperatures? Well, take a look... ugly peonies. Is it still worth it to grow these early peonies? I think so. I really enjoying seeing their neat looking foliage pop up from the ground and their palette of colors brighten up my very early spring garden. Yes, it is sometimes disappointing to feel like you've missed seeing some blooms when they get busted by a cold snap, or wish that the bright yellow stamens weren't mixed with gray or brown. However not all years experience such weather, and sometimes the peonies' blooms are just dandy. And sometimes the bad is not all that bad... :-)

Winter Damaged
Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Halcyon'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Firelight'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Nova'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Sweet May'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Mahogany'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Raspberry Charm'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow'


Winter Damaged
Peony 'Flame'

Sunday, February 5, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Convention in Raleigh, NC

I'm guessing you might have noticed... The American Peony Society Annual Convention is coming to Raleigh, NC this year, right in our own backyard - figuratively and literally! I am really looking forward to seeing everyone again this year, and I can't wait to help host the convention. If you have taken a look at the convention agenda, you might have seen that the APS tour buses will be making a stop here! So I would like to personally invite all of you to join us for the 2017 American Peony Society Convention. Now's the time to get your registration in and start making your travel plans (if you haven't done so already). You can register online or by mail. The APS Convention is open to all APS Members. So please make sure your APS Membership is up to date or if you haven't yet joined the APS, please join us!

2017 American Peony Society Convention

We are going to have everything you love about attending the conventions again this year - hundreds of peony cultivars on display (so you can make your wish lists), peony seminars (to learn more about growing peonies), peony friends and fellowship (so you can catch up on the latest APS Member's peony garden news), and of course the always exciting banquet and auction (where you'll be able to bid on and purchase herbaceous, intersectional, and tree peonies - with everything from garden favorites to highly sought after and rare peonies that might not even be offered by growers this year or may already be sold out)!

Photo Courtesy of Mindful Supply

Plus, we'll have all kinds of local NC goodness like NC Barbeque, local NC Nursery and Garden Shops to peruse, a tour of Duke Gardens and Duke Chapel, NC's own JC Raulston Arboretum, and Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Gardens from NC's plant hunter, Tony Avent. I hope to see you there! :-)