Monday, May 27, 2019

2019 American Peony Society Convention ALM Judges Training

The 2019 American Peony Society Convention included an ALM (Award of Landscape Merit) Judges Training for any and all interested APS Members. An APS ALM judge should be a member that is active in the club, has a large and growing collection of peony cultivars, and has a thirst to help identify the very best peonies for the landscape. The training for APS judges kicked off the 2019 APS Convention on Wednesday afternoon with a 2 hour lecture/informational seminar to help familiarize potential judges with the goals of the American Peony Society Award of Landscape Merit program. We also learned the rating sections and criteria for awarding and deducting points when judging a cultivar.


2019 APS ALM Judges Training

The second half of the ALM Judges Training consisted of a field training in the garden of Kris Jurik. The judging exercise is intended to allow future ALM Judges to get hands on experience and guidance judging a cultivar, with the opportunity to ask questions and discuss potential point scoring. Once the group completes the guided garden judging of a peony plant, they are all asked to silently judge another peony plant in the garden on their own. The expert ALM Judges collect and review the scorecards for judging calibration. It was a hot day in the garden, but the new ALM Judges persisted through an almost 90 degree day to get firsthand experience, gain knowledge, and become proficient in judging peonies for the landscape.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

2019 American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'


Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'
2019 APS Gold Medal Winner

I could not have picked a better APS Gold Medal Winner than this year's 2019 American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner - Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'. This peony was hybridized by Bill Seidl and registered by Bill Seidl and Nate Bremer in 2013. I'm wondering if this is the quickest awarded Gold Medal (in terms of registration date vs. award date). This one made it to APS Gold Medal status in just 6 years! When I first saw this peony (and discovered Solaris Farms in 2013) this tree peony was already sold out, but I just knew I had to have it (lavender being my favorite color and this thing being absolutely loaded with blooms on the web site photo). So I waited patiently for the next catalog and was able to order this one right away in 2014.


Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'
2019 APS Gold Medal Winner

Ever since this Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' has graced my garden, it has been the best growing tree peony I have ever grown (and I've tried quite a few) and been named a Southern Peony Best Performer, 2018 Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Best Performer - Week 3. I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Seidl during the 2016 APS Convention, 2016 Peony 'Dreamtime' Pollen from Bill Seidl's Garden. He died that same year. I only wish he'd lived long enough to see one of his beauties earn the Gold Medal. Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' has never failed to disappoint me, and it quite reliable and gorgeous every year. I hope you are able to snag one for yourself (if you don't already grow one)!

Friday, May 10, 2019

2019 Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Has a Hard Time with Wilt from Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus

I keep thinking it's going to get better, but it's not. I've had this peony 'Many Happy Returns' for several years - since 2007 to be exact, so 12 years almost. Almost every year it is diseased, with wavy stems, stunted growth, and spots. Somehow it still manages to bloom most every year. Don't get me wrong sometimes it has okay years, but most of the time is doesn't. That's why this peony can never be a Southern Peony Best Performer because I mean, come one, who really wants a peony with wavy stems (and sometimes wavy foliage too)? I'm not sure if the fungus will ever kill this plant or not, but I don't think it will ever be pretty unless you spray it (and I don't spray anything for fungus in my garden). What you see is what you get. Luckily this is the only plant in my garden with this problem. Good thing there are several other red cultivars to choose from that don't have this issue.


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus


Peony 'Many Happy Returns' Deformed by Fungus

Thursday, May 9, 2019

2010 Too Much Rain Rots Herbaceous Peony Blooms


Peony 'Bowl of Cream' Rotten Bloom

I've never seen anything quite like this before. Usually the buds and blooms on herbaceous peonies get busted or die way before they start to open. These buds on Peony 'Bowl of Cream' and Peony 'Kansas' made it pretty much all the way to open, but the seemingly endless rain we've had this year seems to have badly rotted some buds that started to open in the rain. I'm not sure if this is some kind of disease or blight or really just rotting from too much water. Luckily this only happened on one bloom on each of these plants. So it's definitely not systemic. My guess is these peonies will be back to normal next year (provided Mother Nature pulls back on the rain a bit!) Let's see...


Peony 'Kansas' Rotten Bloom

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

2019 Peony 'Smith Family Yellow' Best Performer - Week 5


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer

It didn't take long for this beauty to get to be a full sized magnificent plant. I first planted this Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow' in 2015, and it has grown rapidly ever since. This peony was hybridized by Don Smith, and he even mentions it as being one of his most popular with the public in my interview with him, 2016 Peony Hybridizer Interview - Don R. Smith. It was registered in 2002. So it's actually a pretty new peony to the market. I know that Peony 'Bartzella' is the gold (pun intended) standard of intersectional peonies, but this one is a little better to me. There is less red in the blooms, and the petals are a bit more regular and rounded. Each ones of the blooms is like a bright yellow sunshine on the bush. The blooms cover the bush well on all sides, and the bright yellow blooms of this peony just lift you up and make you feel sunny! It looks like there are 2 vendors offering it for sale this year (at the same price point I bought it for in 2015), 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List. I'm sad to say it hasn't come down in price at all since I bought it 4 years ago, but it is worth every penny!


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer


Intersectional Peony 'Smith Family Yellow'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2019 Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' Update


Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' from Ebay, in Bud

Since so many people have been asking me about that Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' root I bought on Ebay, I decided I should write an update about her. There were several comments on the article I wrote about purchasing this peony on Ebay, 2015 Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' on Ebay, wanting to know the status of this plant. I must say I was excited to see its first bud developing this year. This peony took quite a while to get to blooming size, but it finally made it. I was so ready and full of anticipation for it to open. After all these years of waiting, the moment of truth had finally arrived!


Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' from Ebay, Old Bloom

I did actually capture a photo of it in bud one evening last week. However I totally missed it opening the next day. (Pesky work, what's it good for?! LOL) By the time I had a chance to snap another photo of it 3 days later, there wasn't much left of it, and not much color either. Judging by the color of the bud that was just about to open, though, it looks like this peony is probably the correct cultivar. Sometimes the first bloom on a plant is not very indicative of what a full sized plant's bloom may look like. So it's quite possible that the blooms on this plant will have more petals next year. I guess I will have to reserve making a final judgement on the positive identification of this plant, but so far the prognosis looks good!

Monday, May 6, 2019

2019 Peony 'Festiva Maxima' First Bouquet of the Season


Peony 'Festiva Maxima'

I couldn't help but pick these last week when I arrived home one day. They were spilling over into my driveway, and I really didn't want to run into them. I'm so glad I brought them inside. They perfumed the entire downstairs of my house for days. If you don't grow Peony 'Festiva Maxima', you really should. This peony blooms like crazy with over 100 blooms on each of the plants planted by my mailbox. I have divided this peony several times, given several roots to friends and family, and it just keeps coming back even bigger! It grows like a weed down here, and it smells so lovely, with a sweet rose-like scent. If you do grow it, don't forget to bring a few indoors to enjoy their beauty and perfume inside!


Peony 'Festiva Maxima'

Sunday, May 5, 2019

2019 Intersectional Peony Blooms Late Mid Week 5

Is it bad to say that I'm already looking forward to next year? I know, I know. I still have a few buds that haven't opened yet, and several late herbaceous peonies to look forward to, but I must say I really am going to miss all of these peony blooms, especially these colorful intersectional peonies. I feel like there's a rainbow in my garden when these peonies are in bloom! Intersectional Peony 'Mock Orange Yellow' open for the first time for me this year, and I love the orange color! Sometimes you can find a delicate pinkish bloom on Intersectional Peony 'Old Rose Dandy', and this is a good example of one. Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' is always a great plant with its standout white blooms and purple tinted base. Intersectional Peony 'Pastel Splendor' has so many colors in the bloom and is very interesting to look at. Sometimes the blooms on Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' are wild and crazy and sometimes they're neat and orderly. This one is the "neat and orderly" variety, but the color is what draws you in! Intersectional Peony 'Lunar Glow' which bloomed for the first time for me this year has a soft yellow color and very soft rounded petals. Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' also opened for the first time for me this year having good substance and symmetry.


Intersectional Peony 'Mock Orange Yellow'


Intersectional Peony 'Old Rose Dandy'


Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise'


Intersectional Peony 'Pastel Splendor'


Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin''


Intersectional Peony 'Lunar Glow'


Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant'

Saturday, May 4, 2019

2019 Peony Blooms Late Mid Week 5

I think the bulk of the blooms are winding down now. Week 4 and Week 5 are pretty much the biggest weeks for bloom here. It has been a really nice show this year, but I am taking notes on what I need to improve for next year. I feel very lucky to have the Peony 'Etched Salmon' planted right next to one of my garden benches, as it is so lovely and symmetrical and just beautiful to view up close. I was really impressed with the substance and long-lasting color of Peony 'Red Red Rose'. Peony 'Raspberry Clown' never fails to delight with its multi-colored blossoms. Peony 'Gilbert Barthelot' is a stupendous plant and always loaded with blooms. Peony 'Perfect Princess' gets even more perfect every year. I have it planted right next to my front door to greet people on the way in. Peony 'Pink Derby' has a whopper of a bloom, and Peony 'Carolina Moon' is a cute flattish white and yellow combo peony. I hope you are enjoying your bloom season as much as I am!


Peony 'Etched Salmon'


Peony 'Red Red Rose'


Peony 'Raspberry Clown'


Peony 'Gilbert Barthelot'


Peony 'Perfect Princess'


Peony 'Pink Derby'


Peony 'Carolina Moon'

Thursday, May 2, 2019

2019 360° View of Intersectional Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy'

This peony, 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) aka 'Pink Double Dandy', is always one of my Best Performers. This intersectional peony plant just had so many pretty, pink flowers on it, that every side was covered. So I decided to take this series of photos showing the peony blooms on every side of the bush. There are just so many flowers on this plant, that there was not one side that wasn't covered. If you're not yet convinced that this peony, Peony 'Keiko' (Adored) Best Performer is one of the best intersectional peonies out there, then perhaps this will convince you...















360° View of Intersectional Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored)
'Pink Double Dandy'

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

2019 Peony 'Watermelon Wine' Best Performer - Week 4

I must say there is something about Peony 'Watermelon Wine' that really calls you from across the garden. I think it may be the vibrant hot pink color, the way it holds its blooms high above the plant, did I mention the enchanting color? Intersectional Peony 'Watermelon Wine' was hybridized by Roger Anderson and registered in 1999. This plant has grown really well every year in my garden since I've gotten it. Of course it came to me as a really huge root, so it had a great starting point. I can't wait to see how it continues to grow and bloom! There are a couple of peony growers offering this intersectional peony for sale this year. Check out our 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List for availability and prices. This brazen beauty is very vigorous, quite a tall plant, and flowers reliably, and has HOT PINK flowers (a rare color for intersectional peonies these days).


Intersectional Peony 'Watermelon Wine'
Southern Peony Best Performer


Intersectional Peony 'Watermelon Wine'
Southern Peony Best Performer


Intersectional Peony 'Watermelon Wine'
Southern Peony Best Performer