Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2018 $1.69 'Sarah Bernhardt' Peony Not True to Name


$1.69 Peony from Aldi's - Not 'Sarah Bernhardt'

This seems like an appropriate story for Halloween. Is the $1.69 'Sarah Bernhardt' Peony a Trick or Treat? I guess that depends on how you look at it. This peony I purchased in 2016 Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' for $1.69 at Aldi's! did not turn out to be the correct variety, Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'. It look more like Peony 'Paula Fay' to me (hot pink in color instead of light pink and single to semi-double in nature instead of fully double), but who knows what cultivar it really is, if it is even a named cultivar. I originally planted and purchased 3 bags of this peony. The first one bloomed this year. I'm guessing the other two will bloom next year. I did see it fully open, but I didn't get a picture of it. This was right before my trip to China, 2018 Southern Peony Visits China National Flower Garden 中国国花园. So I guess I was just busy getting ready for the trip and missed taking the open bloom photo. Hopefully I will get a picture of it this coming spring when the rest of them bloom. As for whether this was a Trick or a Treat, I guess it could really be both. It was definitely a Trick since it was not the correct cultivar, but it could also be considered a Treat since the peony was so cheap, just $1.69 and the one of the plants bloomed on its second spring! Happy Halloween!


Sign for Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'


$1.69 Peony from Aldi's - Not 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2018 Peony Growers Root Size Comparison

I haven't really compared peony vendors since my 2009 Fall Peony Orders article. So it has been almost 10 years! Since I ordered a couple peony roots from so many different vendors this year, I thought it would be nice to do another comparison to see what people are sending out nowadays and how they stack up. Also a couple of caveats here. Different peony cultivars could have larger or smaller roots, so this is just a general guide - although some vendors do routinely sent much larger roots. (HINT: Check the box sizes - they usually correspond to how large or small the peony growers trim their roots.) Also the length of the peony roots is measured, but not the width (which does matter too). Perhaps next time, I will weigh them to see how "much" peony you're actually getting -- too late now since most of these have been planted. I think most people have measured peony roots on the number of eyes they have, but the more root they have to go with it, the better they will grow!

* These peony growers are listed in alphabetical order.

Adelman Peony Gardens


Adelman Peony Gardens - 10.5" Root Size
Size of Root: 10.5 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: large, 12 x 12 x 6 Large Flat Rate Box
Shipping Cost: $12.95
Peonies in Box: 2 (1 APS Auction root shipped free in the same box)


Brooks Gardens


Brooks Gardens - 9" Root Size
Size of Root: 9 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: small, 10 x 7 x 5 Regional Rate Box A
Shipping Cost: $8.00
Peonies in Box: 2


Fina Gardens


Fina Gardens - 8.5" Root Size
Size of Root: 8.5 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: small, 10 x 7 x 5 Regional Rate Box A
Shipping Cost: $14.00
Peonies in Box: 2


Hidden Springs Flower Farm


Hidden Springs Flower Farm - 8" Root Size
Size of Root: 8 inches
Packing Material: Wood Chips, Shredded Newspaper
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: small, 10 x 7 x 5 Regional Rate Box A
Shipping Cost: $18.00
Peonies in Box: 3


Hollingsworth Peonies


Hollingsworth Peonies - 11" Root Size
Size of Root: 11 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: medium, 11 x 8 x 6 Medium Flat Rate Box
Shipping Cost: $18.50
Peonies in Box: 2


Solaris Farms


Solaris Farms - 7" Root Size
Size of Root: 7 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: medium, 11 x 8 x 6 Medium Flat Rate Box
Shipping Cost: $18.00
Peonies in Box: 4


Song Sparrow


Song Sparrow - 7" Root Size
Size of Root: 7 inches
Packing Material: Sphagnum Moss
Shipping Carrier: UPS Ground (4-7 Days)
Box Size: small, 8 x 8 x 8
Shipping Cost: $27.25
Peonies in Box: 4

Saturday, October 27, 2018

2018 Song Sparrow Peony Sale 30% Off All Herbaceous Peonies


Song Sparrow End-of-Season Sale
30% Off All Herbaceous Peonies

It looks like they're putting on another great sale at Klehm's Song Sparrow, an End-of-Season Peony Sale - 30% off all herbaceous peonies. If you've still got a few more peonies on your wish list, now's the time to nab them before they're gone! Song Sparrow usually offers a buy 2, get the 3rd peony free sale (with the lowest price of 3 free). So this sale should be an even better deal than usual, especially if you are buying peonies with different prices. They have several great APS award winning peonies on sale (which are easily noted by the "☆AWARD WINNER" designation they have on their web site). They also have a few Saunders peonies for sale (search for Saunders) and lots of Krekler and Klehm selections to choose from. There are even a few Reath peonies on sale, including Peony 'Lemon Chiffon', which if you don't own, you really should! The sale ends November 12, 2018, and some coveted peony varieties will start to sell out. So place your order early for the best selection! Check it out!


Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' on Sale
at Klehm's Song Sparrow

Friday, October 26, 2018

2018 Peony Experiments - A Tale of Two 'Kansas'es (Peonies That Is)

There once was a peony named 'Kansas' who lived in a garden in North Carolina, but there were actually two of them. One lived in full sun in the middle of the garden and was quite happy. The other one lived in part sun / part shade, and was always a grump. The 'Kansas' that lived in part shade was always jealous of the 'Kansas' that lived in full sun. That full sun 'Kansas' had everything it needed to grow and bloom beautifully - full sun, plenty of water, and no competition from tree and shrub roots. The part shade 'Kansas' wanted to grow and bloom as big and beautifully as the full sun 'Kansas', and it put forth a great attempt, even getting 7 blooms one year. Sadly the full sun 'Kansas' just could not sustain the growth or blooms. Each year the competition got more fierce, the sun's rays became dimmer, and there was less and less water available. One day the full sun 'Kansas' suggested the part shade 'Kansas' find a new home - one with more sun, more water, and no competition. The part shade 'Kansas' had never thought of this before, but liked the idea. It was sad to leave it's home after 10 years, but decided to go and live in the sun with some other peony friends at Grandma's house.


A Tale of Two 'Kansas'es (Peonies That Is)

BLOOMS
Year'Kansas' #1 Blooms
Partial Sun
'Kansas' #2 Blooms
Full Sun
2009
0
1
2010
3
27
2011
3
35
2012
1
14
2013
7
28
2014
7
39
2015
0
7
2016
1
22
2017
2
18
2018
2
30


Needless to say I decided to dig up one of my 'Kansas' peonies and give it to my Grandma. My grandmother lives on a bit of farmland with plenty of sun. She loves the dark colored peonies, and since this one, Peony 'Kansas', is an APS Gold Medal Winner and a Southern Peony Best Performer, I thought it would be nice to share it with her. As you can see from the charts here, the full sun 'Kansas' grew to full size rather quickly. (I'm sure I should divide it.) However the part sun 'Kansas' never got more than 4 stems and 7 bloom, and has since declined. The full sun 'Kansas' records are 16 stems and 39 blooms, quite a difference! So if you have any doubts about where to plant your peonies this fall, - FULL SUN!!! Pick a nice spot in the middle of your yard with no trees or shrubs nearby, and if you need more ideas on where to plant, check out our Top 5 Spots to Plant a Peony. If you're interested in checking out some of our past experiments, you can check them out here, Peony Experiments.

STEMS
Year'Kansas' #1 Stems
Partial Sun
'Kansas' #2 Stems
Full Sun
2009
2
3
2010
4
13
2011
4
12
2012
3
13
2013
4
16
2014
4
15
2015
3
15
2016
2
14
2017
2
14
2018
2
14


Thursday, October 25, 2018

2018 Southern Peony 'Hillary' Ships to Winner - Jill in MN

The first of this month, October, I shipped out the prize to the 2018 Southern Peony Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' Winner Selected in April. The winner was Jill from Benson, Minnesota. The growing zone in Benson, MN is 4b. That's 3 whole growing zones colder than ours. I'm sure the Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' will settle in nicely, and I can't wait to hear how it does. Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' is one of our Southern Peony Best Performers. This intersectional peony was given away to celebrate an amazing milestone for us, 2018 Southern Peony Hits 250,000 Pageviews!!. Next year will be our 10 year anniversary, so keep your eye out for another great giveaway to celebrate our 10 years of writing about peonies! Thanks again to each and everyone of our loyal Southern Peony readers!


Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' Ships to Winner
in Benson, MN, Growing Zone 4b

Monday, October 22, 2018

2018 Brooks Gardens Peonies 15%/20% Off Special Sale


Brooks Gardens Peonies 15%/20% Off Special Sale

If you missed your chance at winning a root at this year's 2018 American Peony Society Fall Auction, another peony grower just started their fall sale, Brooks Gardens Peonies. It looks like the Brooks Gardens Peonies Special Sale is good through the end of October. So get your treats now, so you won't feel tricked come October 31st! :-) They used to offer free shipping as their fall sale, but now they seem to offer a 15% to 20% discount depending on how much you order. I decided take the plunge and go for Peony 'Lois' Choice', the 2017 APS Gold Medal Winner (pictured in their sale flyer here). I usually purchase the APS Gold Medal Winner every year, but hadn't gotten this one yet because of the price. Brooks already had the lowest price, 2018 Herbaceous Hot 100 Peony Catalog Price Comparison List, and with an extra discount, who could resist?


Peony 'Chiffon Clouds'
Brooks Gardens Peonies 15%/20% Off Sale

I also snagged a root of Peony 'Chiffon Clouds'. I've been wanting this peony since 2016 when the APS Convention attendees toured Klehm's Song Sparrow, and I saw it in their field. It really reminds me of Peony 'Silvia Saunders', which I've been wanting so badly since 2016 Peony on My Wish List 'Silvia Saunders'. Peony 'Chiffon Clouds' may be a little bit more white than Peony 'Silvia Saunders', but they both have the pale pink fading to white going on. Also the photo that Brooks Gardens has on their web site really does not do this peony justice. These are photos I took of Peony 'Chiffon Clouds' when we took the 2016 APS Peony Convention Tour of Song Sparrow. As you can see Peony 'Chiffon Clouds' is just amazing. It's like a sky FULL of fluffy white peony blossom clouds!

Peony 'Chiffon Clouds'
Brooks Gardens Peonies 15%/20% Off Sale

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Fall Auction

If you haven't checked out the 2018 American Peony Society Fall Online Auction yet, today is your last chance! There are several nice selections up for bid, including some Southern Peony Best Performers, like Peony 'Hillary' (#14), 'Julia Rose' (#15). The latest APS Gold Medal Winner, Pietertje Vriend Wagenaar (#18) is even up for bid! There are also some great past American Peony Society Gold Medal Winners on the auction block, including 'Elsa Sass' (#1), 'Do Tell' (#3), 'Eliza Lundy' (#4), 'Garden Treasure' (#9), 'Seashell' (#13), 'Bowl of Cream' #20, 'Coral Charm' & 'Coral Sunset' (#24), 'White Cap' (#28), and 'Miss America (#30).


2018 American Peony Society Online Fall Auction

There are also lots of Intersectionals 'Sonoma By the Bay (#23), Pastel Splendor (#35), Sonoma Halo (#38) and Tree Peonies 'Golden Experience' (#5), 'Tria' (#6), Paeonii ostii (#11), Icarus (#16), Boreas (#25), Fuchsia Ruffles (#27), and Black Panther (#36). If you haven't found enough of a reason to check out the auction, there are also several American Peony Society Best In Show winners in this year's lineup as well. If you're interested in growing a prize winning peony, one of these Best in Show varieties might be your ticket! - 'Red Charm' (#4), 'Salmon Dream' (#9), or 'Boreas' (#25). If showing isn't your thing, and you're more interested in wild & crazy, check out 'Spiffy' (#3), 'Candy Stripe' & 'Fiber Optic' (#7), and Kirinmaru (#20). Also let's not forget about the American Peony Society ALM winners which have a collection all their own, 'Krinkled White', 'Roselette', & 'White Cap' (#28).


2018 American Peony Society Online Fall Auction Catalog

If you haven't found a reason to run, not walk, yourself over to the 2018 American Peony Society Fall Online Auction yet, there are even more varieties than what I've named here, including some advanced generation herbaceous hybrids. The APS Fall Online Auction includes 42 lots in all, but 77 peonies in all! This is definitely a great member benefit and opportunity to find that one (or two or three) last peonies to plant before 2018 is over! It's also a great way to support your club, The American Peony Society. All auction plants are donated by APS Members and all funds raised by the auction go directly to support the APS. The plants (and free shipping) are all donated by our member donors, and we owe all of them a great big THANK YOU!


2018 American Peony Society Online Fall Auction Donors

Saturday, October 20, 2018

2018 Planting Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'


Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Pot
Is There Anything in the Pot?

I was kind of nervous to see if my intersectional 'Scrumdidleyumptious' peonies, that have been sitting it out in pots all summer were still alive after 2018 Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Arrives, and they were planted in April. Their foliage came up nicely and they grew for a time, but the foliage has long since died back. I'm not a great pot Mom, so I didn't remember to water them much. I'm guessing that's why the foliage died back early. Luckily we have had record rain fall this year (not once did my lawn turn brown this summer from lack of water). So now these roots have been sitting in quite wet pots for a couple of months with no foliage, and I was worrying that the roots had rotted away. They've been in part sun/part shade sitting next to my deck all summer. So I decided it was time to check them out to see if there was anything still left in their pots.


Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Checking the First Pot


Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Checking the Second Pot

I was happily surprised to find that not only were they not rotten, but they seemed to be doing okay, maybe even pretty well. It looks like they've started to grow new, baby storage roots as well as some small white feeder roots. They actually seemed decently happy. I guess I got lucky! So I got them planted out right away. One root was larger than the other, but that's pretty much how they came. The larger root had 3 foliage sprouts in the spring, and the smaller one only had one, but they both made it! I'm guessing it might be a couple years before they actually bloom, but I am just happy to have them in my garden. I'm really hoping they are the right variety. Only time will tell! If you happened to buy a root or two from 2018 Tulip World Offers Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' for $12.95!, please write in to let me know if you get any 'Scrumdidleyumptious' blooms this spring!


Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Root #1


Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Root #2

Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 Question Where to Plant 'Sarah Bernhardt' Peony


Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

I received this question from Karen in zone 7a:

"I just ordered Sara Berhardts for the first time this year. I read that you were buying more to put in a better location to help them grow better. Any tips on where I should plant? Full sun or part shade? Thank you for any advise you can offer!"

I am actually planning to plant my new Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' right next to my house which does receive full sun. The old Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' I planted is actually in pretty much full shade, - maybe a tiny bit of sun - and is close to death. I am trying to get some trees removed this fall, but I'm not sure if it will be enough to save her. So I figured I'd order a new one from a reputable source to make sure I have the correct cultivar as well, and plant her in a better location to try to get some blooms! The Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' planted in the shade has never bloomed, and does not increase. So if you've learned anything from my story, stay away from the shade - full sun is definitely best! The more sun, the better your peony plant will grow, bloom, and increase. The more shade your peony has, the worse it will grow, it may never bloom, and will likely decrease in size. So please, please, please plant your Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' in full sun, and if you need more ideas on great locations to plant your peony, check out our article on Top 5 Spots to Plant a Peony.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

2018 Southern Peony Fall Planting

It's that time of year again - fall peony planting time! It's the time when boxes of peony roots converge on your front doorstep all in the same week! What used to be excitement to see the blooms of those new varieties, now becomes pressure to get them all planted! It happens to all of us, the peony bloom photos look so gorgeous, they just draw us in. The ones we've been wanting for years become available, the APS hosts their convention auction, the APS awards its newest Gold Medal winner, the peony farmers hold last chance sales, the APS hosts their Fall Auction -- so many opportunities to find the newest, the latest-greatest, the oldies but goodies, the hidden gems, and the ones you didn't even know you needed! (And if you're lucky enough to have a local club, you might also have the opportunity to buy roots at a local peony fall auction as well!)


Southern Peony Fall Planting

Yes, it can add up to quite a bit of work in the fall to get them all planted, but when spring arrives you know that it will be worth it. And although many of your new peony roots may not bloom the first year, you know they are growing and saving up their energy to make a plant large enough to bloom another year. And as long as you've got them planted in the right place (check out our article on Top 5 Spots to Plant a Peony), you know they will be growing larger and larger every year! One day you'll have a peony (or lots of peonies!) just full of blooms! Happy Fall Peony Planting!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

2018 Last Chance Peony Sale @ Hidden Springs Flower Farm


Hidden Springs Flower Farm Last Chance Peony Sale Order

If you did not notice yet, Hidden Springs Flower Farm just released their Last Chance Peony Sale list. I believe they put a sale list up every year at the end of the season, but you never know what's going to be on this list (or when it's going to come out). I think this is a great way to pull in a few extra orders at the end of the season, plus give people an opportunity to order peonies they may not have gotten the chance to order earlier. This year I decided to pick up three pink colored peonies - Peony 'Joker', Peony 'Juliska', and Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'. I really love the picotee edge on the Peony 'Joker'. I've been seeing lots of photos of this one, and it has been on my "Want List". Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' is a classic double light pink peony, which I don't grow well right now. So I'd like to give her a better place in the garden and a better chance to thrive.


Hidden Springs Flower Farm
Sells Peony 'Juliska' on Sale for $68.00!

However I think the real story here is Peony 'Juliska' on sale for $68.00! This peony was fetching $80-$100 a root last year, according to our 2017 Herbaceous Hot 100 Peony Catalog Price Comparison List. This is an even better price than the originator Solaris Farms sells it for this year ($75.00), according to our 2018 Herbaceous Hot 100 Peony Catalog Price Comparison List. This Peony 'Juliska' was hybridized by the late Bill Seidl and Nate Bremer (owner of Solaris Farms), a promising duo that have produced many advanced herbaceous and tree peony hybrids.


Hidden Springs Flower Farm
SOLD OUT Peony 'Bob' on Sale for $112.49!

And there's always the one that got away... The first peony I noticed and tried to put in my cart was Peony 'Bob', a rarely offered dark red, almost black peony. However the system told me it was already sold out, how disappointing. Well, I suppose there's always next year... Check out all of the Last Chance Sale offerings on the Hidden Springs Flower Farm list, you may find something you've been looking for!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

2018 Peony Plant Markers from Kincaid Gardens

You've probably seen pictures of these in lots of my peony photos. They are the best garden markers I have ever found, Kincaid 100% Stainless Steel Plant Markers. I first found out about them from Hollingsworth Peonies, and I have been using them for over 10 years now. The original markers I purchased from them still look brand new. The only reason one of them ever gets messed up is if I get too close to it with the lawn mower (even then, only the plate is damaged). They do sell replacements stainless steel plates if you need them, but just stay away from them with the lawn mower, and you'll be fine. The one pictured here is actually an old one. Sometimes the markers outlast the plants!!!


Kincaid 100% Stainless Steel Plant Marker Nameplate

I just realized this week that I am totally out. I usually keep a few in the house in my desk drawer (which was empty) and the rest of them in my garage storage area. I figured I'd check the garage later and bring some more inside to my office, but when I did check the garage, I was fresh out. So I just placed a new order today to get a few more bundles. They've changed their web site around a bit since the last time I ordered, but their best plant markers are the "Signature Series". They're not cheap (about $1 per marker or so), but you can get a discount for buying in bulk. Also if you are a member of the American Peony Society, you are also eligible for an extra discount of $1 off per bundle. You just need to call Kincaid and tell them you saw their ad in the American Peony Society bulletin to get the discount code.


Kincaid 100% Stainless Steel Plant Marker

Their "Signature Series" plant markers are 100% stainless steel which does not rust, and they're made in the USA! I think I usually order the 15" length, but 12" or 10" would probably work okay too. I guess it depends how deep you want to push the stake into the ground and how high up from the ground you want the plant nameplate to be. Keep in mind that about 2.5" of the length will be holding the nameplate. If you're tired of wasting your money on garden plant markers that rust, break, snap, and disintegrate, then it may be time for you to invest in these garden markers. You will be so pleased with them for years to come!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2018 Song Sparrow 25% Off All Itoh Peonies


Klehm's Song Sparrow 25% Off Itoh Peonies

If you haven't seen this yet, this is awesome! Of all the years I've seen Klehm's Song Sparrow host a fall sale, they usually just select 5-10 specific peony varieties to put on sale (usually all herbaceous) or have a buy 2 get one free sale (herbaceous only). I don't think I've ever seen them put their Intersectional/Itoh peonies on sale, and to be able to just buy 1 or as many as you want and still get a discount - WOW! that's an awesome deal!! If you've been on the fence about whether to buy one of their gorgeous Itoh peonies, especially some of their just released new Intersectional offerings, 2018 Peony 'Pink Double Dandy' aka 'Keiko' for Sale at Song Sparrow (both of which are on sale!), then now's the time to take advantage of this great sale!

If you are thinking that Klehm's prices are higher for intersectional peonies than other vendors, 2018 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List, well, they usually are. But here's a secret you may not know, Klehm's Song Sparrow grows all of their Intersectional (and Tree) peonies in pots. So you are actually purchasing a growing potted plant. This plant has a big advantage over any other intersectional peony you might buy from another vendor. It's like gaining an additional year (or two) of time for your Intersectional peony plant to increase in size, and the plants are usually larger than what you would get from planting just the root. Plus Intersectional/Itoh peonies grow great in the South. Intersectional peonies are such robust plants from their tree peony and herbaceous peony heritage - it's like the best of both worlds. I haven't grown one yet that wouldn't grow here!!