Tuesday, April 7, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' from Hirt's Gardens on Ebay

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' from Hirt's Gardens on Ebay

Well, my first Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' came from Tree Peony Garden in 2013, a nursery that used to grow tree peonies and is now closed for business. As you know this peony died this past winter, 2020 Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!! I just couldn't wait to replace it. So I decided to purchase it from Hirt's Gardens on Ebay, as I have had pretty good luck with Hirt's Gardens in the past.

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' from Hirt's Gardens on Ebay

I kept this box in isolation for 3 days before opening it as well, just like when 2020 Ordering Peonies on Etsy from ExoticseedsLatvia, and this peony root too seems to be just fine, healthy, plump, with five obvious eyes on it ready to grow. This plant definitely appears to be a tissue culture plant, as it is small, with no obvious signs of division, which actually makes me feel a lot better about its potential authenticity. They even sent a nice little garden tag for it, with "Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory'" and a photo of the flower on it. Nice!

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' from Hirt's Gardens on Ebay

For now I am just soaking this root, to help rehydrate any moisture it has lost. Next I will find a good spot to plant it - likely the same spot the old one was in - which means I'll probably be doing an autopsy on that old Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' (to the best of my abilities) to see if there is any visual evidence of what might have caused its demise. (Stay tuned for an upcoming article on that.) Then I'll fix the soil, add some lime and organic fertilizer and get it planted out. :-)

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' from Hirt's Gardens on Ebay

Monday, April 6, 2020

2020 Ordering Peonies on Etsy from ExoticseedsLatvia

Itoh Peony 'Jazz' on Etsy

Yes it's a little odd, but I just had to try it out. There was an ad on Etsy for an Intersectional Peony that I didn't have, "Itoh Peony 'JAZZ'. I'd never bought a peony on Etsy before, so I just couldn't resist. I also bought 5 daylilies from another seller on there while I was at it, but that's a different story... Anyway I placed this order on March 6, and it actually arrived at the end of last week. I've been isolating my packages and mail for 3 days before I open them (due to coronavirus COVID-19).

Latvijas PASTS Box from Etsy

The box came with "Latvijas PASTS" tape all over it, which I at first thought was the company name, but Google helped me confirm that this is actually the name of the Latvian Post Office. I don't think I've ever gotten anything from Latvia before. Anyway I finally opened this box on Sunday, and I actually found two roots inside the box, "Peony Root 'Jazz'" and "Peony Root Yellow". They both appear to be quite healthy and ready to grow (definitely not dried up/dehydrated). So they did appear to make the international trip just fine.

Itoh Peony 'Jazz' & Peony Yellow Gift
from ExoticseedsLatvia on Etsy

I am curious to see if these peony roots or authentic or not. They do not appear to be cloned tissue culture plants. They definitely seem to be divisions, albeit small ones. The Peony 'Jazz' root has 3 small eyes, and the yellow peony gift just has one. However they both have about the same amount of root (just a small one). I'm just hoping they're both not a very unattractive yellow itoh peony like a dishonest seller on Ebay was sending a few years ago. Only time will tell, at least the truth will be revealed here. :-)

Itoh Peony 'Jazz' from Etsy

Itoh Peony 'Jazz' from Etsy

Peony Yellow Gift from Etsy

Peony Yellow Gift from Etsy

Saturday, April 4, 2020

2020 Peony Blooms Week 2 Early

Well, since we're still really early here, the tree peonies are spacing themselves out quite a bit this year. We got the cool spring weather back this week with highs in the 60s on most days. The forecast for this upcoming week has mostly 70s with a couple days in the 80s. So I think the peony blooms will start to accelerate here shortly. My Lavender P. Rockii seedling started to bloom this week that I transplanted 2 years ago, 2018 Transplanting My First Tree Peony. It is really doing well and growing larger each year. Tree Peony 'Leda' bloomed again for me this year. This is the 2nd year it has bloomed, since I purchased it two years ago as well. It is so nice to see Peony 'Coral Fay' pop up with its bright coral pink blooms that really stand out above its unique foliage.

Tree Peony Seedling Lavender Paeonia Rockii

Tree Peony 'Leda'

Peony 'Coral Fay'

Friday, April 3, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!!

I guess it must have been a rough winter this year. I can't say I remember it being that bad. Mostly likely it was a rather mild winter, with a sudden drop in the overnight low temperature. I don't remember anything too drastic, but I'm guessing there must have been a sizeable temperature differential. As I'm watching things come back to life this spring (or not come back to life), I've noticed that I've lost 2 blueberry bushes that I've had for years, a small dogwood tree, and that my 3 other larger dogwood trees were killed back by about half! This is all very surprising.

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!

I guess the biggest surprise of all is the big blank spot in my intersectional peony garden where Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' used to grow. I must say I've never had an intersectional peony die before, and I've been growing intersectional peonies for 13 years now! I've been growing this Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' since 2013 - so 7 years now. Luckily that is the only plant that was killed. I guess I will have to order a replacement for Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory'.

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!

However it was not the only plant that was affected. The Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' which I've had since 2008 - so 12 years - was also damaged. It was a huge plant last year, and now this year it only has 2 very short, one leaved shoots on it. I really do hope it can recover. I have also noticed several other peonies with blasted buds on them or no buds at all. I'm not sure whether that is due to this same winter kill freeze or some spring frost damage. Boy, Mother Nature sure can be cruel sometimes. I guess as they say, only the strong survive.

Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' Damaged

As you can see this Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' has been loaded with stems in the past. Now it sadly has just 2 very tiny foliage shoots. Those shoots are very immature and will not grow large enough to support a flower. I suppose I should just be grateful that this one is still alive! I guess this is a lesson to me to check my peonies for exposed roots in the fall that may be in need of some additional soil covering and to check for winter heaving during the winter to make sure that roots and crowns are protected. I've never seen quite this kind of winter devastation before for my peonies.

Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' Damaged

If a peony dies here, it is usually from lack of liking their growing conditions in the warmer months - not enough sun (bad planting location, location became shady), not enough water (too dry in summer). I have also seen a new peony rot overwinter from too much water (soggy soil & lots of rain during winter), that kind of thing. I have never seen winter freeze death and/or damage to an established peony, especially an intersectional. Also those reason for dying are usually affecting herbaceous peonies. Intersectional peonies are usually much more impervious to those kinds of things. I guess this winter kill for these intersectional peonies points to their tree peony qualities and heritage, since I know that tree peonies can have those issues during winter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Grows Intersectional Foliage

Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' 3/22

Well, I am excited to report that I finally have intersectional peony foliage on my Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'. I purchased this Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' from K. Van Bourgondien this time, 2020 Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Arrives from K. Van Bourgondien. Unlike the first time I tried to purchase it from Tulip World, when I actually got herbaceous peony foliage, 2018 Tulip World Offers Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' for $12.95! You can see how this peony foliage is already showing hints of the intersectional peony foliage in the first photo with the pointy cut leaf edges already starting to poke out.

Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' 3/30

I have both the Tulip World (fake/herbaceous) peony and the K. Van Bourgondiean (presumably correct intersectional) peony planted side by side now, and it looks like the herbaceous peony (fake 'Scrumdidleyumptious') may actually bloom this year. I will have to post a picture of the flower if/when it does bloom this year. The price on these two was a bit different - $12.95 vs. $35.00, which goes along with the saying, you get what you pay for! I am just relieved to have intersectional peony foliage this time. It makes me feel a lot better on the accuracy of this Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' identity. Now just to wait to see it bloom!!! :-)

Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' 4/1

Sunday, March 29, 2020

2020 The Tree Peony and the Honey Bee

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

I'm not sure who was more eager to see this tree peony open - me or the honey bee! We finally got some sunshine after days and days of rain and cloudiness, and boy was I thankful for it! So was this bee apparently, since the sun helped open up all of these flowers in bud. This tree peony is a seedling I grew from some seed I purchased on Ebay, 2013 P. Rockii Peony Seeds from Cricket Hill Garden. I guess this would be considered a semi-double bloom since it has more than a single row of petals. It sure is gorgeous, and I just love those purple flares in the center of the flower!! I will definitely be labeling this one so that I remember to move it this fall out of the seedling bed fall and into my garden! :-)

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

I'm sure the honey bees will be happy to have more flowers in the garden each year. I do know of one peony grower in Canada that also likes peonies & bees - Blossom Hill Nursery. They have their own hives, make their own honey, and lots of other products with the wax. I am just so grateful to see the bees here in my garden. I know that bees have been having a hard time. I hope that bees are able to recover. I also hope that we can all do our part to reduce our dependence on harmful chemicals and try to make each of our individual garden spaces bee friendly. Bees are our friends, let's make them welcome! :-)

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

Saturday, March 28, 2020

2020 Peony Blooms Week 1 Very Early

Peony 'Early Scout'

The only 2 named peony varieties to bloom this week in Week 1 were Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' and Peony 'Early Scout'. Since our bloom season started so early this year (almost a week earlier than any other year recorded in the last 15 years!), not many peonies have had the oppotunity to grow, much less bloom. There are several other tree peonies waiting to bloom, and with this 80 degree weather we had today and will have again tomorrow, many of them will likely melt! That's how it usually goes here in NC - from winter to summer in 1 week flat! LOL Let's hope we get a little bit more temperate spring weather this season. Looks like we'll have some days with highs in the 50s next week - here we go again!!! I hope your start to spring and the peony bloom season is coming along nicely. Welcome spring!!! :-)

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'

Friday, March 27, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony Calendar

I just got this calendar in the mail. Okay, well, I guess i hadn't opened my mail since last month... (don't tell). When I did get to this envelope last week, I set it aside figuring it was something else. When I went to open it today, I got this nice surprise! I must say the Intersectional Peony 'Impossible Dream' is my favorite intersectional peony in the whole calendar. I am still looking for a source for that one (after one failed attempt at purchasing it on Ebay, 2018 Ebay Peony Seller Reviews). I can't seem to find it anywhere! If anyone knows of a source for that Intersectional Peony 'Impossible Dream', please let me know! I think I may have a way to get an Intersectional Peony 'All That Jazz' (more on that later...), and I don't know what the name of Mr. November is, but I certainly would like to find out! ;-)

2020 Intersectional Peony Calendar

Intersectional Peony 'All That Jazz'

Intersectional Peony 'Impossible Dream'

Intersectional Peony

Thursday, March 26, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony Seedling Pops Up!

Intersectional Peony Seedling Pops Up! (3/19)

Every year I get nervous waiting for my intersectional peony seedlings to pop up. The first one popped up on 3/19 this year! Finally! The rest of them have not shown up yet. So I'm still a little nervous - wondering if a critter got to them, a disease, or perhaps the weather. Who knows? For now it is still a waiting game to see when or if the rest of them will show up. Hopefully they do. When I looked back, it seems like the intersectional peony seedings didn't show up until almost mid April last year (4/10), 2019 I Finally DID IT! My First Intersectional Peony Seedling-s!. So I guess this lone seedling popped up early, and I'm guessing the others will show up when they feel like it (sometime next month).

Intersectional Peony Seedling Sign
'Martha W.' X Nate Bremer's Rainbow

This particular seedling is a cross of Peony 'Martha W.' and what I've nicknamed Nate Bremer's Rainbow. Nate was kind enough to allow people to collect pollen from his gorgeous tree peony garden when the APS convention came to tour it in 2016. I was not prepared so was gifted a few envelopes to collect pollen from Don Smith. Since I didn't have enough envelopes to collect the tree peony pollen all separately, I put several different varieties of pollen from Nate's garden in an envelope and labeled it "Nate Bremer's Rainbow" (since I put so many different colorful tree peony pollens in it). If you'd like to know more about Nate and his hybridizing program, check out our interview with him, 2016 Peony Hybridizer Interview - Nate Bremer.

Intersectional Peony Seedling Pops Up! (3/26)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2020 How to Tell if Your Tree Peony is Happy!

Tree Peony Paeonia Ostii

Not sure if your tree peony is happy? Does it seem to be growing leaves each year, but no flowers? Does it still just have 1 or 2 stems? If so your tree peony might not be very happy. There's a saying that says tree peonies don't like to be moved, which is probably true for very mature and established tree peonies that are quite large shrubs. However if your tree peony isn't happy, moving it is probably a good idea. If you can't tell if your tree peony is happy, here's a little secret to help you figure it out. Check out the base of your tree peony. Do you see any new growth popping up from the base of it? Not just leaves - but new stems!

Tree Peony 'Shimadaijin'

These new stems won't be woody. They will be fleshy and coming up from the dirt/mulch/base of the plant. The new stems will eventually become woody (by the next year), but when they first come up, they look very herbaceous. Now the appearance and the coloring of these new stems may look different on each tree peony variety. Some new stems may be red, some may be purple, some may be green, and many may exhibit a combination of these colors. The important thing to note is do you have new stems coming up from the base of the tree peony plant? If you don't and you haven't for more than 2-3 years, then your tree peony is not happy. It is not becoming established in the area you've planted it. Now part of it could be the planting location, but there are many reasons your tree peony might not be happy.

Tree Peony 'Sahohime'

If your tree peony isn't happy after 2-3 years (and it is still alive), I would recommend moving it. If it does not become established, it will eventually die. Where to move your tree peony? Examine the area it's planted in now. Does it receive enough sun? Does it have even moisture throughout the year? Is it planted deeply enough? The biggest keys to making sure your tree peony will grow and establish itself in the landscape are: sun, moisture, and stem access to soil. Let's talk about each of these 3 areas.

Tree Peony 'Yao Huang'

1. Sun - Tree Peonies like a sunny location in the garden, they can take a small amount of shade, but ideally you don't want too much competition from large trees. So sunnier is better. Partially shaded or sheltered by a structure for half the day, like the side of a house, a pergola, a fence, etc. may be beneficial.

2. Moisture - Tree peonies like even moisture, but not too much moisture. The soil should be well draining and rich in nutrients. Planting near a structure also helps conserve soil moisture.

3. Stem Access to Soil - This is most important if you are purchasing a named tree peony variety. (If you are growing tree peonies from seed, you can ignore this one.) Most tree peonies sold today are grafted. (Maybe one day they'll be clones growing on their own roots!) Grafted means you cut a stem from an existing tree peony, and merge it with the root of a different peony (usually an herbacoeous peony). Since most tree peonies sold commercially are grafted, it is really important that a large part of the stem section of the tree peony be planted under the soil. This will give the tree peony the opportunity to grow its own roots - which is really important for helping the tree peony become established.

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'

So if you do decide your tree peony isn't happy and decide to move your tree peony, make sure to take into account those three things when replanting it. Try to give your tree peony "the best spot in the garden" not some off to the side, right next to a tree trunk kind of spot. Also it wouldn't hurt to mix in a cup of organic fertilizer into the soil while you are replanting it - and remember - plant it deep! Way deeper than you think. Most people probably try to plant their tree peony with the "roots" underground and the "stem" above ground. I would say you really want to plant it with about half of the stem underground (about 3-4 inches). You really want some of those "buds" on your tree peony stem to be undergound and some to be above ground.

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'

Once you've gotten your tree peony "happy", it will go from just a couple stems to more stems than you can count - like these last 2 photos of Tree Peony 'Angel Emily', which I highly reccommend. Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' is an American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner and a Southern Peony Best Performer! :-)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' Grows Intersectional Foliage

Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' on 3/19

I am happy to report that my Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' plant I ordered from Spring Hill Nursery, 2020 Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' at Spring Hill Nursery, is growing intersectional peony foliage! So that actually bodes well in my opinion to the end result being favorable for the peony being the actual cultivar purchased. If you were holding out to see how these fared in my garden before deciding to purchase one, now might be the time to snag one (or two like I did) of these intersectional peonies. Uh oh, too late. I just checked the Spring Hill web site, and it looks like these are out of stock. I hope some of you were able to get one before they sold out!

Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' on 3/11

These were originally small potted plants without any actual foliage when they arrived, 2020 Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' Arrives from Spring Hill Nursery, just a small pinkish bud on each of them that was ready to pop! However as you can see from the photos, a hint of their foliage was apparent. The tiny folded up foliage appeared to show the signature jagged edges of intersectional peony foliage (a trait they receive from their tree peony parent), which is quite different than the rounded edges of herbaceous peony foliage. As the foliage unfolded the leaf structure become more and more apparent. Now it is obvious that these are certainly intersectional peony plants.

Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' on 3/13

Also notice the structure of the stem. The stems on these are much shorter than immature herbaceous peonies, and they have a sort of "stacked" appearance, whereas new herbaceous peony foliage tends to send up a longer, taller shoot. Now both of the plant I purchased from Spring Hill have grown into small, healthy intersectional peony plants. I can't wait to see how these look when they bloom. Now the waiting begins... This is definitely going to take a few years. I hope these peonies are worth the wait, as I haven't seen this cultivar offered anywhere else yet!

Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' on 3/16

Intersectional Peony 'Duchesse de Lorraine' on 3/18

Saturday, March 21, 2020

2020 Planting Herbaceous Peony Seeds from Peony 'Faithful Dream' & Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'

Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' & Peony 'Faithful Dream' Seeds
Planted in Pots

Yes, I know it's not the right time of year, but I get to things when I can get to things, and these peony seeds will eventually grow. This time I decided to plant them in some plastic pots instead of in the ground. I keep noticing seeds disappearing or not reappearing the next year. I don't know if it is critters, insects, or our long summers, but lots of them seem to keep going missing! So I'm hoping that these pots will help keep them a bit safer and give me the opportunity to see these seeds grow to maturity.

Planting Peony 'Faithful Dream' Seeds

I put 5 Peony 'Faithful Dream' seeds in one pot and 7 Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' seeds in another pot. These are the seeds I'd found in the garden earlier this year, 2020 Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' Open Pollinated Seeds Found During Winter Cleanup. 2 of the 7 Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' seeds looked small and malformed. So I'm thinking only 5 of those really have the capacity to sprout, but we shall see. I mixed up the soil for the pots containing mostly peat with a little bit of top soil mixed in. I filled the planters about 2/3 full, put the seeds in, covered them with a bit more of the peat mixture, then topped with a little bit more top soil. Now just water & wait...

Planting Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' Seeds

Friday, March 20, 2020

2020 First Tree Peony Blooms of the Year!

Tree Peony Paeonia Ostii

The first bloom of the season opened today! It's the second day of spring, and the tree peonies are already starting to bloom! It seems a little early to me, and I looked back over my records from the last 15 years, and this is the earliest peony bloom I've ever had! By almost a week! It looks like the previous earliest bloom start date was March 26th. Now this year in 2020, the blooms are starting on March 20th! Wow! I don't know if this is global warming or that groundhog Phil, but whatever it is, spring is here!

Tree Peony Paeonia Ostii

Do you remember that peony covered in snow this year, 2020 First Snow of the Season @ Southern Peony? This is the same peony pictured above with all buds fully intact. Sure enough this tree peony shrugged off that snow and continued to grow and develop several buds that were already growing. It has been in the 80s yesterday and today. Quite warm! Some plants are a bit sad during the heat of the day. The ground still has a lot of moisture, but we could really use a little bit of rain especially for new plants and to help wash off all of this yellow pollen! Yes, that's here too, but all of these flowers are the things that makes spring so happy!

Tree Peony Paeonia Ostii