Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 Good Peony Hybridizing Weather

Pollinated Peony Bloom Protected by Sheer Bag

I'm not sure how, but somehow this week I have managed to get up early enough every day for the last week to get my pollen out of the freezer, go outside with a trash can, scissors, pollen, and bags/tags to work on hybridizing Peony 'Martha W.' - all before getting the kids ready and out the door for school/preschool and then getting myself ready for work! :-D I think my first failure - 2017 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Failure - has made me even more determined to succeed.

Frozen Pollen and Bags for Protection

The weather has mostly cooperated. It has been quite dry now for a couple of weeks. Doing this hybridzing work to remove the petals and stamens and then applying a pollen to the stigmas for all these days in a row, and has made me come to appreciate the dry weather we've been having. I wouldn't want all of this pollen to just get washed right off! However the non-hybridizing, peony grower side of me keeps wishing for the rain!

First Day Peony Crosses Protected By Paper Bags

Many of the peonies in my garden are still growing leaves and flower buds and need additional moisture to grow well. The pollen I've been using is frozen from pollen I collected last year at the convention during the 2016 APS Peony Convention Tour of Solaris Farms. Nate Bremer very generously told all of his visitors that they were welcome to collect as much pollen as the would like. So I'm hoping that some of this tree peony pollen that has been frozen for one year is still good! Only time will tell.

Second Day Peony Crosses Protected By Sheer Bags

I have been keeping the pollinated blooms protected with a paper bag the first day and then a breathable, transparent bag the second day. I'm hoping this helps the pollination rates. Last year I used only the paper bags, and left them on the plant for much too long. I believe this had a negative impact on the number of fertilized seeds that were able to develop. Let hope this idea - sparked by Nate's mention that he was using cotton muslin bags as an experiment - will work!

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