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Thursday, June 30, 2022

2022 American Peony Society Convention Exhibition Flower Show Court of Honor


2022 American Peony Society Convention Exhibition Flower Show
Court of Honor

The American Peony Society Convention Exhibition Court of Honor was a bit smaller this year, perhaps due to the smaller size of the show overall. Being a smaller show, it fit the venue (the Univeristy of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Garden Auditorium) well and was a good step after a 2 year hiatus due to public health concerns. Peony 'Pastelegance' was the Best in Show flower this year, a repeat on the Best in Show list after first winning Best in Show in 2016. This is a happy coincidence, as Peony 'Pastelegance' is also the APS Gold Medal winner for 2022 as well!


2022 American Peony Society Grand Champion
Peony 'Pastelegance'


Congratulations to all of the exibitors on the APS Court of Honor!


2022 Novice Best Specimen
Peony 'Waucedah Princess'

2022 APS Reserve Champion
Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma Halo'


Best Blush Lactiflora
Peony 'Mrs. J. H. Neely'


Best White Wood Peony
Peony 'Koshina-yuki'


Best Species
Peony 'Anemonefolia Rosea'


Best Yellow Blend Woody Peony
Peony 'Jack's Point'


Best Maroon Woody Peony
Peony 'Maria Teresa'


Best White Lactiflora
Peony 'Henry Sass'


Best Pink Woody Peony
Peony 'Elemental'


Best Pink Lactiflora
Peony 'Monsieur Jules Elie'


Best Red Hybrid
Peony 'Commando'


Best Pink Hybrid
Peony 'Nosegay'


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

2022 American Peony Society Convention Flow Show Prep

The 2022 American Peony Society Convention isn't possible without the help of so many entrants and volunteers. Before the show opens to the public, APS members are busy as bees, hard at work creating the beautiful flow show the public sees. Flowers are selected for showing, stems trimmed, put into exhibition bottles with water, groomed for the show, tagged with variety and entrant, and then categorized into their show categories for judging.


American Peony Society Convention Prep

This year the APS Exhibition Committee made a change to have all entries submitted by Friday afternoon at 4pm. That way the judges could judge the flower show on Friday evening and have the show ready for the public first thing Saturday morning. Previously flowers were due by Saturday morning, while the judges tried to judge quickly late Saturday morning, often times delaying the opening of the show. I thought this change was wonderful for the show, although I did miss the time on Friday for group APS activities.


APS Novice Design Entries

Often times after entrants have selected the flowers they do want to show, they have leftover flowers that are not deemed to be "show quality". Usually those stems are made available for flower arranging. While a single stem may not be the perfect shape/quality for a ribbon on the exhibition floor, it can still be a valuable addition for a floral arrangement entry. I have entered the floral design categories a couple of times before. This year I had my Mom with me, and I got her to create a few designs as well. I entered four designs, and she entered three. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun!!


Sunday, June 5, 2022

2022 American Peony Society Convention

It was as lovely to see the people as it was the flowers at the 2022 American Peony Society convention this year. I will say that David Michener's dream finally came true, culminating in the 100th Anniversary celebration of the historic peony garden collection growing at the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum, comingling with the American Peony Society's annual convention. After not having a convention for 2 years, it was nice to be back in person.


2022 American Peony Society Convention
University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Garden

The convention started in the usual way with the welcome picnic, and of course the stalwart and ever-present peony show was held. The rest was a little different than usual. We joined a ticketed private garden tour with other members of the public. The University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Garden were available to tour at your leisure. All of these places were nice to tour, but it did make it a little hard to chat with other APS members during the tours/outings. Luckily I was able to tag along with a few other APS members for the garden tour, which definitely made the day much more enjoyable. Hopefully the APS will bring back the bus tours next year, as they really do make it so much easier to chat with old and new APS members.

All in all, I am so very grateful to have been able to attend the convention (with my Mom as well)! I just hope that all is calm and the convention is able to be held again next year!

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