Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner 'Pietertje Vriend Wagenaar'

Peony 'Pietertje Vriend Wagenaar'
2018 American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner

I don't know a whole lot about the newest inductee into the APS Hall of Fame, Peony 'Pietertje Vriend Wagenaar', the American Peony Society 2018 Gold Medal Winner. Peony 'Pietertje Vriend Wagenaar' is a bit hard to pronounce, but supposedly a lovely flower. I've heard that the darker pink speckling on the lighter pink petals of Peony 'Pietertje Vriend Wagenaar' is similar to Peony 'The Fawn', but this plant grown side by side is supposed to be better. It was registered by Friend in 1996, and the registration information says it was named for his Mother. This peony plant is supposedly the child of Peony 'Kansas' (a Southern Peony Best Performer) and Peony 'Sarah Berhnardt'. So I have high hopes that this plant will grow and bloom well here in the South, since both of its parents work well in our climate.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Convention Tours Adelman Peony Gardens

Carol Adelman Giving a Talk
American Peony Society 2018 Convention Tour

Almost a week ago we toured Adelman Peony Gardens during the 2018 American Peony Society Convention. It all went by so fast, but having the photos around to remind me of how beautiful everything was just brings back happy memories. Everything, and I do mean everything, was in its place and picture perfect at Jim and Carol Adelman's Peony Gardens. Their gardens and fields were just immaculate. Every detail of the tour had been considered down to the smallest detail. Every flower in their display garden had been clipped to perfection. Every border was neat and tidy. Their slip of land really does live up to the URL of their web site -, Peony Paradise. It is exactly that.

Tractor Tours of Adelman Peony Gardens

Carol gave a wonderful introduction to her farm. She has the perfect mix of humor and brashness (or maybe just outright honesty) in her stories, and she is definitely entertaining to listen to. They also gave tractors tours of their expansive fields (growing expansive flowers). I don't think I've seen anyone grow peony plants or flowers as large as the Adelmans grow them. They seem to have the perfect mix of soil, rain, temperatures, and cloud cover to create the largest and most richly colored peonies in North America.

Flowering Peonies at Adelman Peony Gardens

APS Award Ribbons and Cut Peonies
at Adelman Peony Gardens

Inside of the Adelman Peony Gardens sales office, they had cut peony flowers displayed in vases along with their variety name on a placard right in front of each vase. On one of the walls I found a few of Carol's American Peony Society Flower Exhibition ribbons, which appeared to be from 2001-2006. While there were many of them framed on the wall, I know there are many times that waiting to be framed somewhere. I bet she could fill up the entire long wall of her sales office with ribbons! I think Adelman Peony Gardens definitely has the most peony merchandise of any US grower I've visited. There were peony magnets, calendars, books, fertilizer, cut flowers, potted plants, and more. If you wanted for something peony, you found it.

Peony: The Best Varieties for Your Garden Book Signing
at Adelman Peony Gardens

Cold Drinks Adelman Style

While we were touring the gardens, the Adelman's also hosted a lunch for the APS Members on site. They had rented a lovely tent and chairs, decorated every table with a beautiful bouquet of peonies - of course, and catered in Panera Bread boxes for the meal. The food was very tasty - sandwiches, chips, a pickle and a cookie. Drinks were served Adelman style - in the bucket of a tractor's front loader! And of course, many people were lined up after lunch for their chance to get an autographed copy of Carol Adelman and David Michener's new book, Peony: The Best Varieties for Your Garden Book. Of course I needed a copy to memorialize the occasion.

Me with David Michener and Carol Adelman
Authors of Peony: Best Varieties for Your Garden Book

Adelman Peony Gardens' Display Gardens

The Adelman's display gardens could really be described as perfect, something that every home gardener would love to attain and achieve. They did have their secret sauce, aka Adelman Peony Gardens' Peony Fertilizer, for sale inside their sales office. It was a 10-8-8 fertilizer, with the nitrogen being slow release. Carol said that tulip and daffodil fertilizer was their secret, but I have a feeling there might be a little bit more to it than that. The Adelmans have really put their heart into their passion - growing peonies.

Adelman Peony Gardens Tour Talk

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Convention Tours Sebright Gardens

Sebright Gardens
American Peony Society 2018 Convention Tour

I missed the first day's activities for the American Peony Society Annual Convention due to a cancelled flight. So my first activity during the 2018 Convention was the first tour bus stop on Thursday morning. We went to visit Sebright Gardens in Salem, Oregon. Their web site says they specialize in hostas and ferns, but they seemed to have a fair number of iris too (and a few peonies tucked here and there). They had a long greenhouse full of an assortment of plants that I tried not to look in, since I was trying not to have to ship any potted plants home. I'm sure I would have come away with a wheelbarrow full if I was driving home! They offered complimentary coffee and cookies for the APS members on the tour which was quite nice.

Sebright Gardens Iris Field

I believe the tours were self guided here, and most APS members found their way around the place on tiny gravel paths meandering here and there. There was a wide array of plants being grown in their garden as well, with many beautiful varieties in bloom at the time of our tour. You could find roses, clematises, peonies, irises, rhododendrons, poppies, lilies, and much more. The best part about this garden, though, I have to say were the beautiful white peacocks at the bottom of the hill. Although they were encased in an ugly assortment of wood and metal, their beauty could not be bound by their cage. They were just gorgeous. What a wonderful tour indeed. :-)

White Peacock at Sebright Gardens

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Convention in Portland, Oregon

Well, it's that time of year, time for the annual American Peony Society Convention, hosted this year in Portland, Oregon by the Pacific Northwest Peony Society. I can't wait to see what they've cooked up for us. I'm sure this is going to be a stellar convention since two of our awesome board members belong to the Pacific Northwest Peony Society. I am eager to see what Oregon is all about since I've never visited their state before. I've heard the peonies grow pretty large there and the weather is nice (unlike my current locale - San Francisco).

2018 American Peony Society Convention in Portland, Oregon

My connecting flight seems to have been cancelled due to "fog". I don't think I've ever had a flight cancelled for this reason before, but I guess it gives me enough time to write this quick update for everyone. I've been re-booked on two more flights now. Let's see if these are successful. Let's hope so. Due to this delay it seems I will miss the welcome dinner and silent auction. I hope everyone else is able to attend, enjoy a nice meal, and hopefully find a few things to bid on. Have fun!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

2018 Peony Blooms - Week 6 Late

Well, with pretty much 2 weeks of no rain, and now the temperatures are starting to rise into the 90s, the peonies are finishing their season up fast. I don't think we'll have any new varieties opening in week 7 this year. Everything got condensed at the end due to the hot weather and lack of rain. We'll still have some side buds opening next week, but it will most likely be the end of our peony season here. There were still some very lovely blooms that opened this week, though. Peony 'Sorbet' and Peony 'Karl Rosenfield' are both old standbys that are very nice. Peony 'Douglas Brand' opened for the first time for me this year. He was not quite as 'red' as I expected him to be, but still a lovely shade of dark pink. Peony 'Prince of Darkness' bloomed for me for the first time in a long time, if ever. After growing him for almost 10 years, I finally moved him to a better location 2 years ago, and I love the dark purple pink color of his blooms! Peony 'Perfect Princess' bloomed for me for the first time this year as well. She is a recent acquisition and new introduction from Khlem's Song Sparre, and I must say I am really impressed so far. She does seem to need a bit of support, but with only 2 stems she was loaded with 7 huge blooms! Peony 'Myra MacRae' is one of our Southern Peony Best Performers. Peony 'Candy Stripe' really came into its own this year. A lovely striped bloom, with such a rounded, symmetrical form, very nice! Peony 'Vivid Rose' is getting larger each year in it's new location, and the blooms are so lovely and mesmerizing, I just couldn't stop tacking pictures of them!

Peony 'Sorbet'

Peony 'Douglas Brand'

Peony 'Prince of Darkness'

Peony 'Karl Rosenfield'

Peony 'Perfect Princess'

Peony 'Myra MacRae'

Peony 'Candy Stripe'

Peony 'Vivid Rose'

Monday, May 14, 2018

Happy Birthday! Peony Hybridizer Don Hollingsworth Turns 90!

Look Who's 90
Please join us as we celebrate DON HOLLINGSWORTH

So this happened! The birthday celebration took place was while I was on my trip to China, and a it's a bit of a hike from my neck of the woods anyway. So unfortunately I was not able to attend, but I wanted to wish Don a very Happy Birthday and share this awesome milestone with all of you in case you'd like to send him birthday greetings as well. Don is a person I admire for many reasons, his willingness to share his knowledge, his lifetime commitment to peonies and the American Peony Society, and his awesome longevity just to name a few. He is really an upstanding young man, and I can't wait to see what he has yet to accomplish. Happy (Belated) Birthday, Don!

Friday, May 11, 2018

2018 Intersectional Peony Blooms - Week 5 Late Mid

This was another full week of blooms for the intersectional peonies. Intersectional Peony 'Misaka' 美 (Beautiful Blossom) is always such a lovely shade of peach when it opens. I love the purple streaks in Intersectional Peony 'Lemon Dream' that make it so unique. Intersectional Peony 'Sugar Plum Fairy' bloomed for me the first time this year. Intersectional Peony 'Prairie Charm' has such a lovely form, and Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Rosy Future' has quite a unique color of pink for an intersectional. Intersectional Peonies 'Cora Louise' and 'Garden Treasure' are both reliable garden stalwarts.

Intersectional Peony 'Misaka' 美 (Beautiful Blossom)

Intersectional Peony 'Lemon Dream'

Intersectional Peony 'Sugar Plum Fairy'

Intersectional Peony 'Prairie Charm'

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Rosy Future'

Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise'

Intersectional Peony 'Garden Treasure'

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

2018 Peony Blooms - Week 5 Late Mid

The peonies were so lovely this week. We were in peak bloom this week for sure. There have been more flowers in the garden than any other week, or year for that matter. I think my garden has finally become the garden of my dreams this year. What a nice feeling! Peony 'Old Faithful' finally decided to increase again this year, and it was beautiful. Peony 'Topeka Garnet', a Southern Peony Best Performer from last year, performed even better this year, so amazing! Peony 'Cora Stubbs' and Peony 'White Cap' represented the anemone forms nicely this year, while Peony 'Seashell' and Peony 'Pink Princess' stood up for the singles. Peony 'Raspberry Clown' just amazes me with it colorful petals going in every direction, and Peony 'Guidon' is always a reliable perfomer, another Southern Peony Best Performer. I hope your peony bloom season is in full swing!

Peony 'Old Faithful'

Peony 'Topeka Garnet'

Peony 'Cora Stubbs'

Peony 'White Cap'

Peony 'Seashell'

Peony 'Pink Princess'

Peony 'Raspberry Clown'

Peony 'Guidon'

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 Peony 'White Emperor' Best Performer - Week 5

Of all the white intersectionals I grow, this one, Intersectional Peony 'White Emperor' has definitely performed the best for me so far. I'm not sure why there aren't more white intesectional peonies. I only know of two, and I believe they are both sports of yellow intersectional peonies. This one, Intersectional Peony 'White Emperor' is a sport of Intersectional Peony 'Yellow Emperor', which also grows well for me. Intersectional Peony 'White Emperor' is a consistent performer year after year, always growing and increasing in size and blooms. It was hybridized/discovered by Bill Seidl and registered in 1989. The blooms open with a creamy white center and become more white as the blooms age. If you haven't heard of Intersectional Peony 'White Emperor', I'm not surprised. It seems that not many people grow it, but they should. I've only seen it offered by Swenson Gardens (which is where I purchased it). According to my Price Lists, it looks like they are offering it this year for $100, and it is not yet sold out. Don't miss your chance! :-)

Intersectional Peony 'White Emperor'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Intersectional Peony 'White Emperor'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Sunday, May 6, 2018

2018 Peony Botanical Art Note Cards from Colonial Williamsburg

If you're like me there's just something magical about botanical art, and botanical art with peonies as the subject is just all that much better. So when I received botanical art note cards in the mail last week, I just knew I'd have to share them here with all of you. This piece is titled "Paeonia lactiflora, Paeoniaceae". The note cards are supposed to depict the kinds of flowers that were grown in Williamsburg, Virginia in the colonial era. The peony is of course my favorite. However there are also a few other note cards depicting Dahlia & Asters, Magnolia, Violas, and Tulips. I looked up the artist, Marcia Long, on Google, and apparently she has at least a few other botanicals featuring peonies, Botanicals by Marcia Long, all beautiful. She is also apparently a resident of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Peony Botanical Art Note Card
"Paeonia lactiflora"
"Marcia Long"

If you have never been to Williamsburg, Virginia, it is a wonderful place for a family vacation or just a couples getaway. It is a nice, relaxing area with lots of history. My whole family (including my parents, brother, sister in law, and nephew) actually just took a week's vacation there last year. For a very reasonable price we were able to rent a large condo to fit all of us, and we had a great time. It was also nice to visit Colonial Williamsburg as well. Even though we didn't see any peonies (since we went in September), it was still nice to eat authentic cuisine from yesteryear, hear the organs of one of their original churches, see the architecture of their historic buildings, hear the ghost stories of the colonial area, and learn about the culture and traditions of long ago.

Peony Botanical Art Note Card on Letter
from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Saturday, May 5, 2018

2018 Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' Update

After my 2018 Intersectional Peony Garden Welcomes Me Home, I received a question asking about how my Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' was doing, or more specifically how it was growing. It is actually growing quite well. It's definitely not mature yet, but it certainly is very healthy and increasing in size and blooms. If you'll remember, I actually only got this plant last winter in January of 2017, and got my first bloom that spring as well, 2017 Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' Blooms! Last year I got 1 bloom on the bush, and it had 4 stems. This year, in its second year of growth, I have 10 stems and 3 blooms on the bush. I can't wait to see what it does next year! The foliage it quite lovely and very healthy too. This yellow intersectional peony is a real keeper. Take a look for yourself!

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' 1st Day Bloom

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' 1st Day Bloom

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' 2nd Day Bloom

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' Foliage

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' Plant

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' 2nd Day Blooms

Friday, May 4, 2018

2018 Intersectional Peony Blooms - Week 4 Mid

Now that I decided to move two of my Intersectional Peony 'Singing in the Rain' plants out of the shade, they have decided to grow larger and grace me with some blooms, of a lovely peach shade. Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow' is just gorgeous this year, finally settling in and send out lots of blooms. Intersectional Peony 'Old Rose Dandy' has been here a long time, it is an interesting peony, but not one of my favorites. It definitely has a bloom that changes color (fades) over time, though, which can be interesting to look at. Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' is always a beautiful plant and was just named one of our Southern Peony Best Performers this week, 2018 Peony 'Hillary' Best Performer - Week 4. The blooms of Intersectional Peony 'Ballerena de Saval' don't impress me much. They are very small blooms with irregular petals. However it does have a unique coloration. Peony 'Pastel Splendor' is another long time favorite that always does well here. Intersectional Peony 'Unique' and Intersectional Peony 'Canary Brilliants' both have rare colored blooms, but I like the petal count on 'Canary Brilliants' much better than the single flowered 'Unique'. We are still waiting for someone to develop that double red intersectional peony...

Intersectional Peony 'Singing in the Rain'

Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'

Intersectional Peony 'Old Rose Dandy'

Intersectional Peony 'Hillary'

Intersectional Peony 'Ballarena de Saval'

Intersectional Peony 'Pastel Splendor'

Intersectional Peony 'Unique'

Intersectional Peony 'Canary Brilliants'