Saturday, May 23, 2020

2020 Peony Blooms Week 9 Very Very Very Late

WOW. Is there another word for Wow? This is definitely mind blowing! For the first time ever here at Southern Peony, we've had a Week 9 Bloom Season! That is probably very rare, especially for the South, where it usually goes from winter to summer in 1 week flat. LOL. I must say I am very grateful to have witnessed our slowest spring warm up ever, with the mildest, most moderate spring temperatures in memory. It almost felt like I wasn't in the South. ;-) For our 2020 Bloom Season Week 9 we have these 2 stunners that first opened and began to entertain us, Peony 'Karl Rosenfield' and Peony 'Dinner Plate'. They are both pink, but two very different colors of pink. Peony 'Karl Rosenfield' is a hot pink oldie but goodie from 1908, while Peony 'Dinner Plate' is perfectly light pink variety about 60 years newer. Both are definitely late season beauties!

Peony 'Karl Rosenfield'

Peony 'Dinner Plate'

Friday, May 22, 2020

2020 How to Make a Peony Support Ring from a Tomato Cage

Peony 'White Cap' in Dire Need of Support

Day after day, I just couldn't take looking at it this way anymore. This Peony 'White Cap' just kept blooming and blooming. I thought at some point it would just quit blooming and I wouldn't have to watch the blooms keep opening on the ground, but it just kept blooming and blooming. Even days after I went to the store to purchase a tomato cage did I finally get around to messing with this plant, and it was still blooming (granted it was almost finished, but still blooming).

Carefully Putting Tomato Cage on Peony 'White Cap'

I thought I might need to trim the bottom of this tomato cage to make it a suitable support for my Peony 'White Cap', but this peony was so tall and my tomato cage was so short, that it worked out just right! I purchased the 33-in Galvanized Steel Wire Round Tomato Cage from my local home improvement hardware store - Lowe's. This particular tomato cage came with 3 support rings on it, which did make it a little tricky to get on my plant, but I was able to finally get it on there. First I gathered up all of the stems, and put them as close together as possible so that I could fit the flowers through the bottom ring of the tomato cage, then the second ring.

Peony 'White Cap' Fully Supported

After that the foliage was kind of in the way. So I had to wiggle and jiggle the tomato cage on a bit, carefully putting each leaflet through the bottom ring of the cage. I was able to start pushing the cage into the ground a bit, adjusting the leaves up through the cage, pushing the cage down a bit, adjusting the leaves, repeating until the tomato cage is at the desired height needed to support the peony. I must say this Peony 'White Cap' does look so much better when the flowers are up higher, making them easier to see their lovely contrasting blooms and smell their fragrance!

Peony 'White Cap' The Next Day

I will also admit that this was not the most ideal time to add support for this peony. Next year I will put the support out before the foliage emerges so that it can grow into the support rings naturally (and I can help make sure that it does). The peony seemed to work great in this size tomato cage, but it looks like Lowe's also sells a short 30" version with only 2 support rings if you think that might be more to your liking. As you can see I took a photo of the plant the day after I added the support and some of the foliage had started to adjust to the correct positioning (after being on the ground so long, the foliage was also growing sideways). I also captured this gorgeous bloom photo of Peony 'White Cap' which looked like it had regained some moisture overnight.

Peony 'White Cap' Bloom

Saturday, May 16, 2020

2020 Peony Blooms Week 8 Very Very Late

It looks like the "Firefly"s came out this week. It is always so neat to see the wild, twisted, and striped petals on Peony 'Raspberry Firely' and Peony 'Pink Firefly'. Peony 'Candy Stipe' is always one of the last peonies to bloom in my garden, and I always look forward to it's peppermint like stipes as well. Peony 'Cora Stubbs' presents a beautiful bi-color with perfectly pink petals and an almost white tuft in the center, so cute. Peony 'Pink Derby' also has multiple layers of color in a big, bomb shaped flower. I can't believe the peony season is drawing near to the end. This week 8 bloom period is only the 2nd time in 10 years that we've had a very very late Week 8 season. I have really enjoyed having so much time with the blooms this year. I think we may even have a record-setting Week 9 next week. :-o Stay tuned!

Peony 'Cora Stubbs'

Peony 'Raspberry Firefly'

Peony 'Pink Derby'

Peony 'Pink Firefly'

Peony 'Candy Stripe'

Friday, May 15, 2020

2020 Giant Leaves on Herbaceous Peony 'Juliska'!!

Herbaceous Peony 'Juliska' Giant Leaves 10 Inches Across

So the foliage on the Peony 'Juliska' is not as large as the foliage that grew on my 2013 Peony Foliage on Steriods! Peony 'Bowl of Cream'. However it is still really, really big. I am wondering if this Peony 'Juliska' foliage will grow this large every year or if something just happens some years that causes this monstrous foliage. My Peony 'Bowl of Cream' foliage is large, but I don't think I've ever seen it grow quite as large as it did in 2013. This Peony 'Juliska' plant is still quite young. This is only the second year of growth for it. It had a flower on it the first year. I probably should have pinched the bud off to let the plant store more energy, but I really wanted to see it flower so I didn't pinch it off.

Herbaceous Peony 'Juliska' Grows Giant Leaves

Herbaceous Peony 'Juliska' in Planting Bed
Foliage Much Larger than Other Herbaceous Peonies

To give you some perspective, I snapped the photo about with Peony 'Juliska' in the bottom center of the photo. It is planted near Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' and Peony 'Lake o' Silver'. As a comparison the foliage on this Peony 'Juliska' plant is just huge compared to the foliage of the other two herbaceous peonies. The foliage of those other two herbaceous peonies is much more pointed and smaller. This Peony 'Juliska' foliage is really rounded and much larger. One compound leaf grew 10 inches across and 6 inches high, and a leaf node grew 4 inches wide. Only time will tell how this Peony 'Juliska' grows in the future. I will keep my eye on her...

Herbaceous Peony 'Juliska'
Single Compound Leaf

Herbaceous Peony 'Juliska' Leaf Height 6 Inches

Herbaceous Peony 'Juliska' Leaf Width 4 Inches

Thursday, May 14, 2020

2020 Giant Bloom on Intersectional Peony 'Gordon E. Simonson'

Intersectional Peony 'Gordon E. Simonson'

WOW! That's all I can really say about this Giant Bloom on my Intersectional Peony 'Gordon E. Simonson'. Of all the intersectional peonies I grow, the flowers on this one are definitely the largest. This is actually the first year this intersectional peony has bloomed for me. I first planted it in 2017, and it took until now to grow it to blooming size. The very first flower to open on this plant is super huge!! The petals on this flower just continued to grow and expand as it was open.

Intersectional Peony 'Gordon E. Simonson'

The color has faded some since it first opened, but for the most part, it has held the color pretty well, and is still a very nice shade. The substance on these petals is unbelievable! They are thick and really hold up well to the sun. This plant had 4 blooms on it for me this year, the first year that it has ever bloomed for me. What a giant stunner! I can't wait to see how this one does next year as well!! I wasn't sure if I would like this peony or not since it doesn't have a great name, but I am really impressed.

Intersectional Peony 'Gordon E. Simonson'

Sunday, May 10, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony Blooms Week 7 Very Late

Never Have I Ever...
1. Never Have I Ever had 4 weeks of intersectional peony cultivar blooms opening for the first time, until 2 weeks ago!
2. Never Have I Ever had 5 weeks of intersectional peony cultivar blooms opening for the first time, until last week!
3. Never Have I Ever had an intersectional peony open for the first time in Week 6, Late Bloom Season, until 2 weeks ago!
4. Never Have I Ever had an intersectional peony open for the first time in Week 7, Very Late Bloom Season, until just this past week!!

Wow!!! This has really been an exceptional year for the peony bloom season. While there are a few other blooms left on some cultivars that starting blooming earlier in the season like Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella', these two peonies 'Chief Black Hawk' and 'Berry Garcia' opened their first blooms this past week in Week 7. I just can't believe it. The weather really does make a difference in when during the year your peonies will bloom, how fast (or slow) all of buds on the plant will open, and how long the blooms will stay on the plant before falling off. If you'd like to see how this year stacks up to some of the previous years here at Southern Peony, take a look at our Southern Peony Bloom Dates page. It shows which years had flowers in which weeks for the past 10 years! This is pretty much the end of the intersectional bloom season. However there are still some herbaceous lactifloras that haven't opened yet. So I'm still looking forward to Week 8, Very Very Late!

Intersectional Peony 'Chief Black Hawk'

Intersectional Peony 'Berry Garcia'

Saturday, May 9, 2020

2020 Peony Blooms Week 7 Very Late

The lactifloras are definitely out this week. I can't believe how many blooms we had opening this past week in May our 7th week of bloom! I have never seen a bloom season quite like this one, and I am just thrilled. I wish our spring weather could be this temperate and easy on the plants every year! I know the peonies have enjoyed the cooler nights and less hot days. Their blooms have lasted longer and they have opened slower, both for the season and on the bush. A peony that's blooms might only last 1 week in the year are now lasting 2 weeks. I am very grateful for this opportunity to observe, document, see, and smell the flowers this year for such an extended period. I hope your bloom season is going swell too!

Peony 'Mother's Choice'

Peony 'Angel Cheeks'

Peony 'Paul M. Wild'

Peony 'Pillow Talk'

Peony 'Rose Heart'

Peony 'Westerner'

Peony 'Ursa Minor'

Peony 'Petticoat Flounce'

Peony Lavender Ruffles

Peony 'Mr. Ed'

Friday, May 8, 2020

2020 Transplanting an Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' in Spring to Grandma's House

Transplanting an Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'
in Spring to Grandma's House

Maybe I was encouraged by the mild spring we've been having. Or maybe I just couldn't bear to see Grandma's yellow peony not thrive and grow another year in a row. So I decided to dig her up one of my Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' plants in spring and bring it to her. I know that spring is not the best time to transplant a peony, but sometimes you do things when you have the opportunity. Last weekend was one of those days!

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'
in My Peony Test Bed Before Digging

So... Here's what I did. I woke up early in the morning because it was actually going to be pretty hot that day. I wanted to dig the plant when it was very early so the plant had the optimum amount of moisture in it when I removed it from the ground. The later in the day you dig something, the more time it has had to sit in the sun and lose water to evaporation. Lucky for me, it had rained the day before quite a bit.

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'
Partially Dug

My first plan of action was to dig the plant on one side. I know that sounds a little weird, but I was trying to prevent the loss of and damage to as few roots of the peony as possible. First I moved the sign for it, then I started digging. I started digging far away from the peony to try to find the roots. Once I started to find the roots, I just kept digging underneath them, removing dirt and setting it aside.

Digging Underneath the Roots of
Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'

This helped increase the visibility in the root zone. As you can see I kind of created a hole or space underneath the plant as I removed more and more soil. I did end up losing 2 large storage roots on the side I was digging. It seems kind of unavoidable to prevent any damage, but I did my best. That's one reason why I decided to only dig from one side. I knew the more sides I dug on, the more roots I'd lose. Eventually I had enough space under the peony that I could grab it from the underneath the crown and base of the roots. Then I just started jiggling it and moving it here and there, using my shovel to loosen underneath a bit if needed, pull, jiggle, pull, jiggle, until it finally came out!

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' Finally Dug Out

As you can see, I was thinking was I going to put the peony into this 2 or 3 gallon pot to transport it to my Grandma's house. However you can see that was a laughable idea. If I had even tried to put this peony into that pot, I would have broken off every root I just so carefully extracted and tried to save. So the pot stayed home, and the intersectional peony 'Bartzella' and its giant roots when into a black plastic trash bag instead! The roots on this peony were probably 3 feet across or more!

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'
Ready for Transporting in a Black Plastic Trash Bag

When I arrived at Grandma's house I walked around looking for a good spot to plant it. When I had a couple of good ideas, I took Grandma around, told her my ideas for possible spots for it, and let her choose one of those spots. She selected this spot right behind some yellow irises, yellow daylilies, and yellow daffodils. I think it was my favorite spot too. Once the spot was selected I started digging. And digging. And digging.

Transplanting an Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'
in Spring to Grandma's House

Grandma's house like many properties here has it's share of red mud aka red clay. I was prepared, though, and brought a bag of top soil to mix into the planting hole. I put mixed a half a bag into the planting hole (saving some for other plants in case we needed it). However it looked like I could have put in a whole bag. I also mixed in a cup of 10-10-10 slow release fertilizer pellets that my Grandma had at her house. The hole I dug for this peony was huge. I wanted to make sure I had enough room for those giant 3 foot roots!

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'

Once I had everything dug up and mixed in, I started removing soil from the hole. Then I placed the plant in the planting hole. I actually planted this Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' about half an inch to an inch deeper into the soil at Grandma's house than it was growing at my house. I wanted to give the plant some stability since its roots (the plants normal stabilizers) had just been ripped from the ground placed in different, much looser, freshly dug soil. Also sometimes the soil washes at Grandma's house, and she may not mulch her plants as often as I do.

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'

Once the plant was in place, I started the amended and fertilized soil with the shovel until it was mostly refilled. When all of the roots were covered, next I made sure that the plant was balanced and standing up correctly, adding and firming soil in any spots needed to help its balance and stability. I also made sure to leave the plant slightly lower than it's surrounding soil and create a small soil mound around the planting hole to help hold and keep water when watering the plant.

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'

After planting it, I watered the peony with two 2 gallon buckets of water. Even though it had rained more than an inch the day before, you alway needs to water in your newly planted plants to help settle the soil, remove any air pockets, and help re-hydrate the roots. This peony looked pretty good after it was planted. However it definitely did sulk later that date in the hot sun. My Grandma put some more water on it again in the afternoon. I told her to keep her eye on it and take care of it this summer making sure it has plenty of water. She said it looked better and less wilted the next day. Thank goodness we've been having some more mild spring temperatures this week. I really do hope this Intersectional Peony 'Batzella' will grow and thrive at my Grandma's house! I'll have to keep you posted on how it does. :-)

Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella'

Thursday, May 7, 2020

2020 More Intersectional Peony Seedling Babies Pop Up!

More Intersectional Peony Seedlings Pop Up - 4/26

They're alive! They're alive!! Well, it took quite a while from when the first intersectional peony seedling popped up on March 26th, 2020 Intersectional Peony Seedling Pops Up!, for another one of them to pop up. It was literally a month later when the 2nd two intersectional peony seedlings popped up. It makes you think that the first one of these must be an early bloomer, while the other two are later bloomers. Who knows if that's true, but it would be interesting to find out. I'm just glad some of the first seedling's siblings started to show up. I was definitely getting worried about them. It seems like that happens every year, though. So this year I decided to mark each intersectional peony seedling with a tiny bamboo plant stake. So next year when I'm waiting for them to grow, I'll know exactly where they're supposed to be showing up! :-)

Intersectional Peony Seedlings - 4/29

Intersectional Peony Seedling - 4/29

Intersectional Peony Seedling - 4/29

Intersectional Peony Seedling - 4/29

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

2020 Tulip World Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Actually Peony 'Coral Charm'

Tulip World Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Actually Peony 'Coral Charm'

Well, I suppose if you're going to get an incorrect peony for $12.95, Peony 'Coral Charm' is a great peony to get. I must say it is definitely disappointing to get the wrong peony from 2018 Tulip World Offers Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' for $12.95!, but I think part of the value I help bring to all of you is uncovering the truth from the many and varied places you can buy a peony. In this case the peony was definitely not true to name/cultivar. It was not even true to type. It was supposed to be an Intersectional Peony, but a herbaceous peony came instead. The variety was supposed to be 'Scrumdidleyumptious' peony, but a 'Coral Charm' peony came instead.

Tulip World Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Actually Peony 'Coral Charm' - 4/18

Peony 'Coral Charm' is actually a great peony to grow in a Southern climate. It is actually a Southern Peony Best Performer. This peony was first recognized in 2015 Peony 'Coral Charm' Best Performer - Week 2. This peony is very vigorous here, will grow larger each year, and make a large enough plant that you will be able to divide it to share with friends and family. I know it is never a great feeling to get the wrong peony, but I am still grateful for this beautiful Peony 'Coral Charm' that I recieved.

Tulip World Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Actually Peony 'Coral Charm' - 4/19

Tulip World Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Actually Peony 'Coral Charm' - 4/19

Tulip World Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Actually Peony 'Coral Charm' - 4/22