Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 First Peony Bloom of the Year - Unknown TP

First Peony Bloom of the Year in Bud

I must say that my first peony bloom of the year is a little underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, the color of the bloom is lovely. It's just a little different than I expected. For some reason I was expecting this to be the Tree Peony 'White Phoenix', which it definitely is not. I have another 'White Phoenix' Tree Peony that actually is white. However this one is a lovely shade of pale lavender. I am not really sure of its identity, but I don't think it really matters. I shall keep it anyway. :-)

First Peony Bloom of the Year - Unknown Tree Peony

Sometimes when you are expecting a certain flower color, and you plant the plant where you want that color bloom. So I may have to move this plant later, but for now it is fine. I like lavender a lot anyway, since purple is my favorite color. I hope all of you have a wonderful start to your peony season. What color (and variety if known) is your first peony bloom this year?

Unknown Lavender Tree Peony

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 Questions - Reliable Source for Peony Seeds

I received this question from Mubarak in zone :

"I am looking for reliable source for peony seed for my home garden. While searching on internet I found your blog Thank you so much for all the information at one place. Please let me know where I can buy seed or can you share some seed with me. I will pay for the postage. Please help me in this regard."

American Peony Society Seed Distribution Sale

I would highly recommend the American Peony Society as the best (and most reliable) place to buy peony seeds. However you do need an APS membership to buy the seeds. One year's APS Membership fee is $25, but it may be worth it if you are buying lots of seeds. Also the seed list for this year was just posted last week, and there are lots of fabulous choices on it. A very talented hybridizer that passed away recently, Bill Seidl, donated all of his seeds to the American Peony Society. So their Seed Distribution Program has lots of rare, hand pollinated, choice seeds (many are limited to 1 pack per person) to choose from.

Also there is an American Peony Society Annual Convention & Show coming up in June of this year in Raleigh, NC. The APS seeds will be at the peony show for sale to the public (no APS membership necessary) and no shipping fee! I'm not sure how far you are from Raleigh, NC, but this will be a great show to see the myriad of peony varieties available, and if you have time, you may want to join APS and attend the whole convention. 😊 Hope to see you there!

2017 American Peony Society Convention

Saturday, March 25, 2017

2017 Monrovia Features Photoshopped Itoh Peony on Front Page

Continuous Color - Itoh Peonies

"Wow! What kind of flower is that?" That was my first reaction when I saw this flower photo on Monrovia's front page. My next thought was, "I really need one of those!" Then I realized it was a peony. Then I wondered if this was a new peony variety that I'd never seen before. So I clicked around on their site a bit more until I found the mystery peony in the photo on their main page. I clicked through to the "Itoh Peonies" section. At first glance, I did not see the mystery peony anywhere to be found. Why would they put a plant on their main page, that they don't even have for sale?, I thought. Then I realized they did have it for sale, and it was on their "Itoh Peonies" page. The flower form and shape was the same, but the colors and background were much different.

Monrovia's Main Page

The photo was of Intersectional Peony 'Julia Rose', a plant I already have and grow. I have seen this plant bloom for several years, and yet I did not recognize it. When I clicked on the "Julia Rose Itoh Peony" page, I saw a photo of the plant that looked much more familiar to me. Obviously the photo had been photoshopped. Why would they have altered the photo so much to make the plant unrecognizable? Sure the photo on the main page is gorgeous, but it doesn't exist. Are altered photos just a harmless way to help the flower industry grab the attention of people enough to get them interested? Or do they hurt the flower industry by promising something that's unattainable? What do you think?

Monrovia's 'Julia Rose' Itoh Peony

Friday, March 24, 2017

2017 First Intersectional Hybrid Seedling Sprouts!

First Intersectional Hybrid Seedling Sprouts

I can't believe it! Yesterday when I was pulling a few weeds from the bed near the house, I noticed something! Something special. Something I'd been waiting on. Something that was taking so long, I thought it might not come until next year - My First Intersectional Hybrid Seedling Sprout! Wow! That is just an amazing feeling! I did it (with some help from my friends). I can't believe it. I am so excited!!! Now I feel like I have a lot more responsibility. It almost feels like a have another child, and I need to make sure it becomes an adult, watch over it, help it grow, and make sure it stays out of trouble. LOL!

Peony 'Martha W.' Intersectional Seedlings 2016 Sign

Since I've never seen an intersectional peony hybrid seedling before, I guess I cannot be sure that this is definitely a tree/herbaceous peony hybrid. However just looking at the foliage, it seems a little different than my regular herbaceous peony seedlings. The edges of the foliage seems a little less even, and the leaf substance seems a little more billowy and rounded. I will get an expert opinion to double check. If you missed the beginning of this intersectional peony journey, and you'd like to read up on the process to get to this, you might want to read up on a few of my previous posts - 2015 Hybridizing Peony Martha W., 2016 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Seed Pods, 2016 First Intersectional Peony Seeds!, 2016 Planting First Intersectional Peony Seeds.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017 Questions - Buying Peonies at the APS Convention

I received this question from Eileen zone 4b:

"Hi, I too am going over my lists of must-haves as we sit amongst more than a foot of snow, wind and temps in the teens. I was wondering if any of the peony producers that attend the convention offer discounts on orders placed at the convention? I know you've attended before and would know. I remember you purchased some potted plants last year at Solaris, but didn't mention any specials at the convention per se. I might hold off on at least one order if that were the case. I'm planning an order from Adelmans, too, as they provide the largest roots of all. It must be their wonderful Oregon soil and climate! Gold City has nice roots, too, and always includes a freebie...a few years ago they gifted me Ann Berry Cousins, which has turned out to be pretty spectacular. Thanks, Eileen"

American Peony Society Exhibition and Flower Show
Potted Peonies for Sale

I've never seen growers offer discounts on peony orders placed at the convention. However some growers will bring potted peonies for sale. However the selection of these potted peonies is much more limited than what would be available in someone's catalog.

I have never seen Adelman's bring potted peonies to a convention before. Also the potted peonies I purchased at the convention last year were from Klehm's Song Sparrow, not Solaris Farms, and those peonies were purchased on the farm tour of Klehm's Song Sparrow, not at the convention itself. The potted peonies at Klehm's Song Sparrow that I purchased were on special for only $15 each! I wish I'd bought more. There was a tour of Solaris Farms as well, but they did not have anything available for sale during their farm tour or the convention.

Also don't forget about the peony auction that happens during the APS banquet. You'll definitely want to save a few dollars for that. Sometimes good deals are to be had on rare and sometimes pricier peony varieties. You may also get a second chance to purchase a peony variety that is already sold out for 2017 or perhaps not even offered in any 2017 catalogs.

There will also be plant purchasing opportunities during our tour of Plant Delights Nursery (& Juniper Level Botanic Garden) during this year's American Peony Society Convention. They do have a few select varieties of peonies to choose from. However the bulk of their offerings are varieties of a wide range of plant genera that you won't find anywhere else. Their prices aren't cheap, but you always get good sized, healthy plants. I always find something I need whenever I visit them!

I look forward to seeing you at the convention!

Potted Peonies for Sale
at the American Peony Society Convention

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 One More Peony Order in Peony Paradise

Remember that snow we got this past weekend? Okay so maybe it wasn't much of a snow. Some people were just calling it "dry rain". Well anyway... What better way to spend a snowy weekend morning than shopping for peonies online? It's cold outside, the weather's icky, and no one wants to go out. So why not stay indoors, dream of big gorgeous peony blooms and springtime, go to peony paradise if you will - figuratively and literally. Okay, okay, I confess. I found a few more peonies in Peony Paradise that I just decided I couldn't live without. The reason I placed the order was for Peony 'Roselette's Baby'. It appears to be a newish? introduction from Adelman. The description says it is a sport of Peony 'Roselette', but with much more color. I couldn't resist adding another bright early peony to my collection.

With this bright red color and the name Peony 'Cherry Ruffles', I decided this upstanding multi-petaled red peony needed to take a trip over to my garden. Peony 'Carolina Moon', a white peony with a "yellow glow", seems like it would be right at home here too. :-) If you've never purchased peonies from Peony Paradise aka Adelman Peony Gardens, you are in for a treat. I received their 2017 catalog in the mail recently, and they have totally redesigned it. It is gorgeous! It's not just the cover, but the interior, descriptions, everything has been redesigned. They also say they are cleaning their mailing list. So if you do get their catalog and want to keep it, you need to contact them!

Adelman Peony Gardens 2017 Catalog

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2017 I Found a Diamond In My Peony!

Diamond in My Peony

I don't know if it was luck or coincidence, but something caught my eye as I happened to walk by my intersectional peony garden today. The sun was going down, and there was just a bit of sunlight still glinting off the emerging red-toned intersectional peony foliage. Something in the foliage shimmered with facets of light, and shined like a diamond. I couldn't help but take a closer look to see what it was...

Intersectional Peony 'Unique' Foliage

When I got closer I found something very beautiful. It wasn't a diamond made of carbon, but a diamond made of water! It was so amazing. I wanted to capture it before the sun went down, before the water succumbed to the forces of gravity, before my diamond disappeared! I raced into the house to grab my camera. As luck would have it when I got back outside with my camera, the sun was still shining, and my water droplet diamond was still there! So I was able to capture these gorgeous photos of my Intersectional Peony 'Unique' foliage holding a water orb from several angles.

Intersectional Peony 'Unique' with Water Orb

How in the world did this water orb diamond come about anyway? Well Mother Nature was kind enough to give us a light dusting of snow this morning after a couple of weeks of temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Needless to say the snow melted quickly and was gone before noon. However a few of those snowflakes combined and formed this water orb. This seems like one of those once in a lifetime photos. Everything lined up just right in order for this water droplet diamond to be created, found, and photographed. The endless beauty of Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me. It makes my heart sing to find examples of this natural beauty each day.

Light Dusting of Snow on Emerging Peonies

Saturday, March 4, 2017

2017 Protect Peonies from Super Cold Overnight Temps

So I don't usually worry with protecting my peonies. However this weekend I decided to try to help them. The temperatures here swung from 80 degrees for the high, to an overnight low of 25 degrees in just two days! I figured the peonies wouldn't like that too much. So I went to buy some buckets on my lunch break yesterday at work. I bought all four gray buckets they had. Luckily I had a few more buckets at home already, and I found a few empty flower pots to use as well. The big buckets worked well to cover the peonies that were up higher out of the ground, and the smaller flower pots worked well to cover the peonies that were not up much yet, and still low to the ground.

Peonies Protected from the Cold with Buckets and Flower Pots

It was already getting dark (and cold!) by the time I got off work and picked up my daughter from her after school program. When we got home she helped me cover the peonies with the buckets using a flash light. Between you and me, I think she had a little bit of fun doing it - any excuse to use a flashlight and play outside in the dark! We were able to get most of the early herbacouse hybrid peonies covered that were already popping up. I didn't worry with the tree peonies or interesectional peonies since these are usually pretty cold hardy anyway.

25 Degrees Overnight Temperature

The next morning, I removed all of the flower pots and buckets from the peonies. With the covering they all seemed to have made it through the super cold night just fine. The real test will be to see if the blooms open and if they open without any damage. I left the pots and buckets near the peonies. The forecast is calling for two more nights of below freezing weather. Since I've already protected these early peonies one night, I guess I better continue. Two more nights to go!

Peonies Protected from the Cold with Buckets and Flower Pots