Saturday, July 27, 2019

2019 Peonies & Butterflies

I didn't capture a ton of butterfly photos in the peony garden this year, but I did catch a couple. I thought it was fun to research this moth & butterfly to see what their names were. The black and white spotted one is a Mournful Thyris Moth, and the brown one with orange and white markings is a Spotted Skipper Butterfly. It was so nice to have them in the garden too. There were several other butterflies enjoying the peonies, but some of them were too fast for me to get a photo. (If you want to take a closer look at these, just click the photo and a larger version will appear.) If anyone else was able to capture some butterflies on their peonies this year, please share. I'd love to see them! :-)

Peony 'Pastelorama'
Mournful Thyris Moth

Intersectional Peony 'Morning Lilac'
Spotted Skipper Butterfly

Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 Intersectional Peony Color Combinations

Intersectional Peonies 'Hillary' & 'Canary Brilliants'

I just wanted to share with you a few intersectional peony color combinations I captured during the bloom season this year (and no these are not on the same bush). These shots are on 2 different bushes that are planted next to each other. I don't want to get any of my varieties mixed up. So I always try to mix up the color combinations when planting my intersectional peonies out. Anyway when I saw these combinations in the garden, I just couldn't help but snap a shot of them. Some of them are complementary, some of them are contrasting, but any way you slice it they are all eye catching and gorgeous! I hope you enjoy!

Intersectional Peonies 'Sonoma Apricot' & 'Ballarena de Saval'

Intersectional Peonies 'Hillary' & 'Morning Lilac'

Intersectional Peonies 'Sonoma Apricot' & 'Ballarena de Saval'

Friday, July 12, 2019

2019 Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Blessing' a Tiny Blessing

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Blessing'

I must say I was also impressed with Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Blessing' this year! This was also its first year, and although it didn't match the bloom count on 2019 Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour' Has 8 Blooms in First Year!, it actually did pretty well with 6 blooms in its first year. I really like the delicate pattern on the petals, a mixture of a pale pink petal with hot pink streaks! There's also some pretty hot pink flares in the center as well, that are kind of shaped like small rounded flower petals too. This plant seems to have a shorter stature as well (so far), making me think of this peony as a "tiny blessing"!

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Blessing'
First Round of Blooms

The "blessing" in this peony also seems to be another round of blooms. After the first set of blooms had faded, another set quickly began to open, almost coming back to life! I purchased this peony from Adelman Peony Gardens, and I must say I always get very sizable peony roots from them. So I'm sure that had something to do with this plant's wonderful first year performance! This peony's second set of blooms seem to open a bit lighter than the first set of blooms, giving the blooms a more of a peppermint look than the first set.

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Blessing'

From the 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List, it doesn't look like anyone is offering this variety this year, but from the 2018 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List, it looks like both Adelmans and Solaris Farms both offered it for sale last year. So I would keep an eye out for their catalogs next year if you are interested in acquiring one of these petite beauties. It looks like this variety isn't registered with the American Peony Society. Hopefully it will be registered one day, though! It's too cute not to be! :-)

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Blessing'
Second Round of Blooms

Sunday, July 7, 2019

2019 Intersectional Peonies with Color Block Petals

Intersectional Peony 'Kopper Kettle'
with Color Block Petals

I could barely believe this eye-popping bloom on my Peony 'Kopper Kettle' plant this year, and it wasn't the only one. There were actually several blooms on my Intersectional Peony 'Kopper Kettle' with varying degrees of color separation, but this one was by far the most dramatic. Usually my Peony 'Kopper Kettle' is a fun mix of orange, yellow, and coral. This year it was much different. Some of the blooms were the normal color, but several were not. Peony 'Kopper Kettle' was also not the only intersectional peony with color block petals on some of its blooms in my garden this year. Peony 'Singing in the Rain' and Peony 'Lemon Dream' both also have color blocked petals this year. If you don't yet grow any intersectional peonies, this might be another reason to add some to your garden! Enjoy!!

Intersectional Peony 'Singing in the Rain'
with Color Block Petals

Intersectional Peony 'Kopper Kettle'
with Color Block Petals

Intersectional Peony 'Kopper Kettle'
with Color Block Petals

Intersectional Peony 'Kopper Kettle'
with Color Block Petals

Intersectional Peony 'Lemon Dream'
with Color Block Petals

Intersectional Peony 'Kopper Kettle'
with Color Block Petals

Intersectional Peony 'Kopper Kettle'
with Color Block Petals

Friday, July 5, 2019

2019 Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour' Has 8 Blooms in First Year!

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

I must say I was really impressed with Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour' this year! This was the very first growing year for me for this peony. I just planted it last fall 2018. So it was really a shock to me when this peony grew so large and had so many blooms on it the very first year! I don't think I've had any other peony grow so large and have so many bloom on it in its first year of growth. Sometimes I will get a first year bloom from the stored energy in the peony's root system, but that's just one bloom, maybe, but 8? That's just amazing!!! I can't wait to see what this Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour' does next year!

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

I actually got this peony from Solaris Farms. So maybe that says more about the vendor than the peony variety, but I'm thinking it is probably some of both. This intersectional variety seems to hold a lot of promise. I'm wondering if it will come close to the performance of my 2019 360° View of Intersectional Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy', one of the best performing intersectional peonies in my garden. This peony was hybridized by Don Smith, and he mentions it in my 2016 interview with him as one of his "oldies but goodies", 2016 Peony Hybridizer Interview - Don R. Smith (I had been trying to get my hands on one of them ever since!)

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

This peony actually goes through a range of colors, which seems to be appropriate as the name of the variety suggests not only that the hybridizer Don Smith is a fan of the Beatles, but that the peony goes through a rainbow like transformation during its bloom season fitting with the rainbow-like theme of the Magical Mystery Tour movie and album. The blooms of Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour' open as a beautiful coral pink color, fading to a variety of coral peach and pinky cream tones over time. The blooms also have almost 2 rounds of blooming each year as well, as hybridizer Don Smith likes to select for extended bloom season in his varieties.

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

Right when you least expect it, a second set of blooms open on the plant. It's almost as if the entire plant reset itself for another round of blooming. The first set of blooms had completely finished, and then almost as if by surprise, another set of blooms begins to open like magic! It was so nice to see a whole other round of blooming after the first blooms had finished. It was like I got a bonus bloom season from this variety! I don't think I've ever seen any other peony plant behave quite that way. Maybe it was just the weather, but I'm guessing this one will extend it's bloom season again next year. Maybe it won't be in the exact same dramatic fashion as it was in its first bloom season, but I'm guessing it will be another "magical mystery tour"...

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

If you have not yet gotten a chance to purchase this variety, check out our 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List to see where it is available. It looks like it is sold out at Solaris Farms this year, as I don't see it on their web site anymore. However check back in January for our 2020 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List to see which vendors will be offering it next year. Also there a lots of other great intersectional peonies still available for shipping this year. If you still have a few spots to fill, I'd definitely recommend an intersectional peony, they are just great growers (especially in the South)!

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

Intersectional Peony 'Magical Mystery Tour'

Saturday, June 22, 2019

2019 Questions - How to Grow Peonies in Zone 10A

I received this question from Roseann in zone 10A:

"Hello Adriana, I really enjoy your blog. Thank you so much for all the wonderful information. I would love to grow Herbaceous Peonies. I've tried once to grow three herbaceous ones, and none of them took. Do you have any advice for how I can grow them here in Southern California Zone 10A? Or if you even think that it's possible. I would really appreciate any advice and help you can give me."

USDA Growing Zones Map
How to Grow Peonies in Zone 10A

I have heard of people dumping ice on their peonies during winter in hotter growing zones, but I don't have a lot of specific information on how they did it (how often, how much ice, how many days/weeks/months?). Also that sounds like quite a bit of trouble to me to grow a flower. So I would probably not recommend that approach.

I would really recommend trying to grow an intersectional peony. They are a cross between an herbaceous peony and a tree peony, and they are able to grow in a bit warmer growing zones (just like their tree peony parents). Tree peonies may be another option if you are interested, but I really think intersectional peonies will be easier to grow. Intersectional peonies are grown on their own roots, while tree peonies are normally grafted and can take longer to become established (which may be hard to do in a challenging climate).

No matter which type of peony you choose (herbaceous or intersectional), I would recommend planting them very shallow. You want to cover the roots, but the pinkish "eyes" should be at ground level, and seeing them over winter is perfectly fine (even suggested in warmer growing zones). Those "eyes" need cool temperatures during the winter to set bud.

If you choose a tree peony, plant them deep. Their "eyes" or growth buds need to be buried beneath the soil. The deeper a tree peony is planted, the better. The roots of the plant should be deep in the soil, with the actual stem (woody) part of the peony planted 3-5 inches beneath the soil surface. This will (hopefully) allow the tree peony to start growing more of its own roots from the buried tree peony stem.

A great intersectional peony to try if you are interested is Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella', an American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner. It is a stellar performer for me, always loaded with buds and flowers, and the flowers are just gorgeous - bright, full double standout yellow blooms! You can get it for a decent price nowadays too (since it has been around for a while now). Check out my intersectional peony price list for places to buy it... 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List.

I hope this information helps, and I'd love to hear more about your garden in the future. Please keep me posted on how growing peonies works out for you!

Friday, June 21, 2019

2019 American Peony Society Convention Reiman Gardens Conservatory & Butterfly House

Reiman Gardens Conservatory

After things had settled down with the 2019 American Peony Society Convention Reiman Gardens Peony Flower Exhibition a bit, I finally got to check out Reiman Gardens, and boy am I glad I did! Those blue couches in the middle of the conservatory that look like a dream? Yes, I lounged there a bit and took in the sights and sounds all around me. I was met with well grown and carefully groomed plants everywhere I looked. While I relaxed on the dreamy sofa, I took in the playful sounds of the waterfall and let the tropical foliage take me away to an imaginary (yet very real!) retreat. I must say I was quite surprised by the hidden gems around every corner in this conservatory. It was not in the least what I expected, yet very much more than I expected - what a treat! It was amazing yet very relaxing and peaceful all at once.

Reiman Gardens Tropical Waterfall

Reiman Gardens Conservatory Planters

There were brightly colored blooming bulbs in pretty much every pot in sight - tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, alliums, and vases overflowing with bunches of blooms. There were palm trees of all kinds, urns filled with blooming orchids, and small water fountains everywhere! The delights for the senses surrounded you - sights, smells, sounds. Reiman gardens had even decorated the conservatory and their entire garden actually with a theme. The current theme is "Toys and Games". Apparently they change the theme every year. So this year there were dice planters, big dice between the cacti in the conservatory and the ferns at the front desk, playing cards tucked into planters, and a a giant dice sculpture outdoors. I'm not sure that I've seen another garden do a them quite like this, and it definitely added an extra fun element that popped up all around the display gardens.

Reiman Gardens Conservatory

Reiman Gardens Hallway

The Reiman Gardens Butterfly House was another treat after I'd finished exploring the Hughes Conservatory. I took the opportunity to rest on a few of the benches they had scattered throughout the butterfly house (and take some nice butterfly shots while I was there). There were actually a lot of butterflies in the house the day I went, and they all seemed to be quite active. I guess I went at the right time of day, perhaps. There were butterflies of orange, yellow, brown, white, and blue. They were fluttering about chasing each other, resting on a leaves, sipping nectar from flowers, and learning to fly. There's just something about tiny little creatures with large, colorful wings that really spark my imagination and carry me away to a world of whimsy.

Reiman Gardens Butterfly House Butterflies

Paper Kite Butterfly
Reiman Gardens Butterfly House

Reiman Gardens Butterfly House

Yellow, Black, & Blue Butterfly
Reiman Gardens Butterfly House

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2019 American Peony Society Convention Reiman Gardens Peony Flower Exhibition

2019 APS Convention Flower Exhibition
Reiman Gardens Garden Room

I must say I really enjoyed the natural feeling of the 2019 American Peony Society Exhibition room this year, which was in the Garden Room of Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa. There was so much wood in the room, but not too much, that it gave it a soft feeling. The space also had lots of windows, mirrors, and natural lighting, perfect for showing off all of those gorgeous peony blooms. Even with the natural lighting, the room was still cool enough to keep the peony blossoms fresh for the competition and exhibition. So we had the best of both worlds.

Itoh and Herbaceous Hybrid Peonies
2019 APS Convention Flower Exhibition

There was just something about having those natural wood beams around the room, that just made the peonies pop! I just couldn't stop taking pictures of the peonies against the wood. The rich, light brown color just made the perfect companion to the brightly colored peonies. The show was actually really well attended. There were many, many members of the public, plus a busload of peony enthusiasts from the Heartland Peony Society that came to visit on Sunday. It was nice to see the excitement of everyone - new and seasoned peony enthusiasts alike, and many new people decided to become APS members as well. All in all it was quite a successful show for the APS and for peonies!

Peony Collection Entries
2019 APS Convention Flower Exhibition

Peony Collection Entry
2019 APS Convention Flower Exhibition

Sunday, June 16, 2019

2019 American Peony Society Convention Reiman Gardens Peony Flower Bouquets

Reiman Gardens Peony Bouquets

I'm not sure who put together all of the beautiful vases of peonies at the Reiman Gardens front desk for the 2019 American Peony Society Convention, but they were gorgeous! I only wish I had this many colors and varieties of peonies to pick at once to brighten up a vase! No where else on earth will you find as many peony varieties from all different bloom seasons - early season, mid season, and late season all gathered together and on display than you will at a peony flower exhibition. If you are lucky enough to be able to visit a peony show, then you are in for a unique experience! Prepare to be dazzled and delighted!!

Reiman Gardens Front Desk Covered with Peonies

There wasn't an inch of space left on the welcome desk at Reiman Gardens on the days of the flower exhibition. Glorious bouquets of dark maroon, pale peach, bright pink, cherry red, and sunny yellow greeted APS Members and Reiman garden visitors alike. If you came just to visit the garden that weekend, you happened upon a real treat! The bouquets upon bouquets of peonies at the front gave away that something was going on. I'd like to say I have an easy favorite of all of the bouquets on the front desk, but there were so many of them I really loved, my mind can't settle on just one! If you didn't get to see these lovely flowers at the show, I hope you get a chance to enjoy them now! :-)

Reiman Gardens Peony Bouquets

Reiman Gardens Peony Bouquets

Reiman Gardens Front Desk Peony Bouquets

Sunday, June 9, 2019

2019 APS Convention Southern Peony Wins 3 Blue Ribbons in Artistic Division & First Rosette

Southern Peony Artistic Design Entries
1st Place "Happy Days" & 1st Place "Honored Guest"

I must say I was very proud of my "Happy Days" arrangement that I entered into the 2019 American Peony Society Flower Exhibition this year. Of the three arrangement I entered, it was definitely my favorite. The bright yellow colors of the hostas and the irises just popped like rays of sunshine and made me feel happy whenever I looked at it. The arrangement category honored a Saunders peony by the same name, Peony 'Happy Days', a lutea hybrid with colors of rose and gold. The "Honored Guest" arrangement was nice too, honoring another Saunders Peony 'Honored Guest', a white single with pink flares. Since I didn't have a Peony 'Honored Guest' to put into the arrangement, I used a single white tree peony and made flares of pink bleeding hearts coming out all around the white flower. The "Great Lady" arrangement honored Peony 'Great Lady', another Saunders hybrid, which blooms as a single hot pink peony in my garden. So I used a single hot pink peony, but the arrangement was supposed to be tall like a great lady. So I used tall fern fronds, which are feminine, yet commanding.

My First Artistic Design Rosette
1st Place "Honored Guest"
Novice Design Award
1st Place "Great Lady"

When the results for the show were announced, I was astounded to find I'd won 3 1st place blue ribbons, plus a rosette for Novice Best Design! This is the first year I've ever won a rosette in a design category. However I was really shocked that it was the "Honored Guest" arrangement that actually won the Novice Best Design Rosette. I felt sure that the "Happy Days" entry I'd entered was my best effort. It was interesting to see the comments from the judges on the backs of my entry tags. That's the thing I think is pretty neat about the Artistic Design category, all of the artistic designs are judged by local certified design judges (not APS judges). Regardless of which arrangement won, I am very grateful to have been able to enter into this category in the APS show. I owe many thanks to the APS members that donate peonies to the artistic design category every year, and to Kris who graciously allowed me to harvest hostas, iris, and bleeding hearts, and other foliage from her garden. Thank you!

2019 American Peony Society Convention Flower Exhibition Court of Honor

2019 American Peony Society Court of Honor

There were so many pretty peony flowers on the show table this year. Two of the top honors went to people who'd never won those awards before, 2019 APS Best in Show Peony 'Noma Volz' Awarded to First Time Grand Champion Winner, Mike Miller and 2019 APS Treasurer and First Time Entrant Wins 2 Court of Honor Ribbons & Best Novice Specimen Rosette in the American Peony Society Flower Exhibition. Also this was the first time ever that Peony 'Norma Volz' has ever won the highest honor in the show, Grand Champion / Best In Show. To me, that makes for a pretty exciting flower show! There were lots of firsts this year, and I can't wait to see how the show goes next year in Chicago!

Peony 'Age of Victoria'
Best Novice
Peony 'Norma Volz'
Grand Champion
Peony 'Jacks Point'
Reserve Champion,
William Seidel Memorial Award

Peony 'Garden Treasure'
Best Yellow / Yellow Blend Intersectional,
Best Intersectional
Peony 'Madame Claude Tain'
Best White Lactiflora
Peony 'Victory'
Best Blush Lactiflora
Peony 'Waucedah Princess'
Best Pink or Pink Blend Tree Peony
Peony 'Vesuvian'
Best Red / Maroon Tree Peony
Peony 'Mabel L. Gore'
Red Lactiflora
Peony 'Coral Scout'
Best Coral Hybrid
Peony 'Ice Age'
Best White or White Blend Tree Peony
Peony 'Pastelegance'
Best White / Blush / Yellow Hybrid,
Allan Rogers Memorial Award
Peony 'Kamata-fuji'
Best Purple / Lavender Tree Peony
Peony 'Buckeye Belle'
Best Red Hybrid

Peony 'TP Sdlg N'
Best Seedling
Peony '3442'
Best Seedling
Peony 'Petticoat Parade'
Best 3 of a Kind