Articles about Peony aps
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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)!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Fall Auction

If you haven't checked out the 2018 American Peony Society Fall Online Auction yet, today is your last chance! There are several nice selections up for bid, including some Southern Peony Best Performers, like Peony 'Hillary' (#14), 'Julia Rose' (#15). The latest APS Gold Medal Winner, Pietertje Vriend Wagenaar (#18) is even up for bid! There are also some great past American Peony Society Gold Medal Winners on the auction block, including 'Elsa Sass' (#1), 'Do Tell' (#3), 'Eliza Lundy' (#4), 'Garden Treasure' (#9), 'Seashell' (#13), 'Bowl of Cream' #20, 'Coral Charm' & 'Coral Sunset' (#24), 'White Cap' (#28), and 'Miss America (#30).


2018 American Peony Society Online Fall Auction

There are also lots of Intersectionals 'Sonoma By the Bay (#23), Pastel Splendor (#35), Sonoma Halo (#38) and Tree Peonies 'Golden Experience' (#5), 'Tria' (#6), Paeonii ostii (#11), Icarus (#16), Boreas (#25), Fuchsia Ruffles (#27), and Black Panther (#36). If you haven't found enough of a reason to check out the auction, there are also several American Peony Society Best In Show winners in this year's lineup as well. If you're interested in growing a prize winning peony, one of these Best in Show varieties might be your ticket! - 'Red Charm' (#4), 'Salmon Dream' (#9), or 'Boreas' (#25). If showing isn't your thing, and you're more interested in wild & crazy, check out 'Spiffy' (#3), 'Candy Stripe' & 'Fiber Optic' (#7), and Kirinmaru (#20). Also let's not forget about the American Peony Society ALM winners which have a collection all their own, 'Krinkled White', 'Roselette', & 'White Cap' (#28).


2018 American Peony Society Online Fall Auction Catalog

If you haven't found a reason to run, not walk, yourself over to the 2018 American Peony Society Fall Online Auction yet, there are even more varieties than what I've named here, including some advanced generation herbaceous hybrids. The APS Fall Online Auction includes 42 lots in all, but 77 peonies in all! This is definitely a great member benefit and opportunity to find that one (or two or three) last peonies to plant before 2018 is over! It's also a great way to support your club, The American Peony Society. All auction plants are donated by APS Members and all funds raised by the auction go directly to support the APS. The plants (and free shipping) are all donated by our member donors, and we owe all of them a great big THANK YOU!


2018 American Peony Society Online Fall Auction Donors

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Convention Auction


Kop Tretheway's "Everything Peony Collection" Part 3

There were 113 items in the American Peony Society 2018 Annual Auction this year. The item with the highest bid of $240 went to a first edition copy of "The Book of the Peony" by Mrs. Edward (Alice) Harding. I would love to have a copy of this book, and a first edition would be even better, but $240 was a little too high for me. I hope the winning bidder enjoys the book! The lowest price item in the auction was $10 for 2 peony tea towels and some peony fabric. However there were also several peony roots that went for $15 and $20 as well (with shipping included) - which was quite the steal! If you have not yet been to an APS Convention, you are really missing out!


Michel Design Works Glass Peony Tray
Kop Tretheway's "Everything Peony Collection" Part 3

I won three items in the auction this year. Peony 'Allan Rogers' is the first item, which is a white double peony, grown from a seedling from Bill Siedl, but I see now that it is a short plant. Since short plants don't usually grow very well for me, I'm not sure how it is going to do here. So we'll see about that one. The second item is Peony 'KC Red', a rare find that is also a new registration for 2018, a red tree double peony registered by Seidl/Bremer. This tree peony is supposedly very beautiful and very fertile, so hopefully a good plant for breeding. The third item (and my favorite) is a set of peony bath items donated by Kent Tretheway. These items belonged to his late wife, Kop Tretheway - what a nice way to honor her memory. The lot I won was entitled, Kop Tretheway's "Everything Peony Collection" Part 3. It included a Michel Design Works glass peony tray/soap dish, Michel Design Works peony hand creams, and Michel Design Works peony coasters. There was also a bar of Castelbel peony soap. As you can see I am already putting the glass tray to good use - as a jewelry tray, and I love it!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Convention Banquet


2018 APS Banquet Coffee & Dessert
Lemon Blueberry Bars

The best thing about the American Peony Society Banquet this year? Dessert! We had scrumptious bars of lemon, blueberry (and maybe cream cheese?) for dessert this year, and they were delicious! I (unfortunately) had to help myself to two of them! Yum! Dinner was tasty as well with salmon, beef, green leaf salad, fingerling potatoes, rice with onions, and baby broccoli. It seemed everyone enjoyed the meal (and dessert) while we listened in on the annual APS Member Meeting. Our outgoing President, Scott Parker, conducted the meeting. Several new APS Directors were nominated and elected. The results of the APS Flower Exhibtion were announced, and all of the rosette ribbons were presented to each recipient in person.

2018 APS Banquet Buffet


Adelman Peony Gardens
Wins 2018 APS Sweepstakes Award

Jim and Carol Adelman of Adelman Peony Gardens won the 2018 APS Sweepstakes Award this year, which is awarded to the entrant with the most blue ribbons in the entire show. They won 29 blue 1st Place Ribbons. They also earned rosettes for Reserve Champion (blue/light blue ribbon) for Peony 'Old Faithful', Allan Rogers Memorial Award (red/white ribbon), Best Intersectional Award (yellow/white ribbon), and the Ben Gowen Memorial Award (green/light green ribbon). I'd love to see their award wall after they've finished framing all of their ribbons! Therese Sprauer of Brooks Gardens won the Grand Champion rosette ribbon for 2018 Peony 'Lavon' APS 2018 Best in Show.
APS Rosette Ribbons
More than a Handful!
Jim & Carol Adelman
Look Very Happy!


Scott Parker, APS President, Looks on as Carol Adelman
Presents Linette Sorrentino
with the Bertrand H. Farr Lifetime Achievement Award

Another great personal award was presented during the APS Banquet to Linette Sorrentino for her "years of unmatched and exemplary" service to the APS especially in the areas of "floral exhibitions, fund raising, educational programs and workshops, ... mentorship of new members, and her promotion of Paeonia". Linette seemed very surprised and emotionally touched when her award was announced, even sharing a hug with the presenter, Carol Adelman. What a sweet moment!

Carol and Linette Share a Hug


Carol Reads the Inscription
of the Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday, June 28, 2018

2018 Southern Peony Wins 2 Artistic Design Ribbons at APS Convention


APS Artistic Design 1st Place
"The Pearl"

Well, there weren't any rosettes ribbons for me this year, but I did manage to eek out a 1st Place and 2nd Place ribbon in the two categories I entered in the Artistic Design Section of the American Peony Society Annual Exhibition. I must say, though, that I owe a large chunk of my awards to Mike Miller since he let me use the materials he'd meticulously curated from a local thrift shop. Since he was only allowed to enter 3 design categories, he let me use his remaining materials to enter "The Pearl" category. I did however select my own flowers from what all designers were allowed to use (the leftovers from the flower exhibition), and I also selected the greenery to go with it (from what Mike had sourced from local roadsides). He happened to have some blackberry brambles with small, green buds. To my eye these perfectly emulated tiny pearls and suited my arrangement for "The Pearl" category well.
APS Artistic Design 2nd Place
"Pittock Mansion"
APS Artistic Design 1st Place
"The Pearl"

My other arrangement was for the "Pittock Mansion" category. I figured for a Mansion you need big. So I tried to go as big as I could with what flowers and greenery was left over, but the size of my arrangement paled in comparison to Mike's 1st Place winning arrangement in the category (and Grand Champion Design), 2018 First Time Entrant, Mike Miller, Sweeps APS Peony Floral Arrangement Competition, which was awesome! Truth be told, the only reason I even won a 1st Place ribbon in "The Pearl" category was because there was no entry from Mike to compete with. All in all entering these designs into the APS Artistic Design categories was lots of fun. It was very surprising to win any ribbon at all (this being my first time ever entering an artistic design), and a 1st Place ribbon was even more exciting. I look forward to participating in the APS Exhibition in this way in future years, even when I don't have my own flowers to enter into the cut flower exhibit!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

2018 First Time Entrant, Mike Miller, Sweeps APS Peony Floral Arrangement Competition


Mike Miller of Great Seal Peony Farm
Wins APS Artistic Design Reserve Champion

Much to my (and everyone else's) surprise, a first time exhibitor in the Artistic Design section won all 3 Artistic Design Rosette ribbons awarded in the American Peony Society 2018 Flower Exhibition. That winner is Mike Miller of Great Seal Peony Farm in Ohio. He's no rookie to the APS Flower Exhibition, but this is his first foray into the design competition. I took the opportunity to speak with him about his artistic floral design winnings.


Mike Miller of Great Seal Peony Farm
Wins APS Artistic Design Novice Design Award


Mike Miller of Great Seal Peony Farm
Wins APS Artistic Design Grand Champion

How did it feel to win all 3 APS rosette ribbons in the Artistic Design peony floral arrangement categories (Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, and Best Novice Design)?

"Finding out that I had won all of the top 3 design awards was exciting and embarrassing at the same time. I was happy to win but also embarrassed that I took the awards away from others that had been competing for several years."

Were you surprised to find out that you won?

"I was very surprised when I first learned of receiving the top honors."

How does it encourage you in your peony growing and exhibitions?

"I am encouraged to try entering again in future conventions. This was my first year to enter the design classes. In a normal year I am too busy entering peonies in the commercial division classes and have never had enough time to do any designing. I was not able to take peonies this year to enter and therefore allowed me the time to enter the design classes. I am looking forward to a balance in future shows of entering peonies in their classes and doing more of the design classes."


APS Artistic Design Reserve Champion
"Tilikum Crossing"

Mike is so humble and so deserving. It really speaks to his creativity and attention to detail with the materials he used and the planning he put into creating on-point designs for each of the categories he entered. Mike told me that he visited a local thrift store after arriving in Oregon to find the containers and design elements for each of his arrangements. With the design categories in mind, he carefully selected pieces and accents that would fit each theme. Each year the APS creates categories with themes from the Exhibtion's locale. This year was no different, with each category reflecting features of Portland, Oregon.

Mike's "Tilikum Crossing" entry is anchored by two metal vases of varying height, mirroring Portland's Tilikum Crossing bridge's two towers. It also incorporates woody materials at the top of the arrangement emulating the bridge's cables and a ribbon connecting the two towers to form the "bridge". His "Tilikum Crossing" entry won First Place in its category, and it won the APS Artistic Design Reserve Champion rosette ribbon (the 2nd highest design award in the show).


APS Artistic Design Novice Design Award
"Union Station"

Mike's "Union Station" entry (my favorite) was anchored by a clock vase, just as Portland's Union Station is anchored by a towering clock tower, perfect! The use of color in this design is what really draws me to this entry, and of course all of the intersectional peonies don't hurt either! His "Union Station" entry won First Place in its category, and it won the APS Artistic Design Novice Design Award rosette ribbon.

Mike's "Pittock Mansion" entry was by far the largest and grandest entry on the show table - the scale and grandeur of the design definitely befitting a mansion. Even the vase was perfect - the intricrate, gilded design of the large vase belonged in the grand home of a wealthy industrialist investor. His "Pittock Mansion" entry won First Place in its category, and it won the APS Artistic Design Grand Champion rosette ribbon (the highest design award in the show). Congratulations, Mike!


APS Artistic Design Grand Champion
"Pittock Mansion"

Sunday, June 24, 2018

2018 Peony 'Lavon' APS 2018 Best in Show


Peony 'Lavon'
American Peony Society 2018 Best In Show
Grand Champion

When the results for the Best in Show flower were revealed after the 2018 American Peony Society Judges Select Court of Honor and Best In Show, there was quite a bit of excitement surrounding the peony that won the highest honor of the peony exhibition. The award went a home-state exhibitor, Brooks Gardens of of Brooks, Oregon. The hybridizer of the peony also happened to be at the show, Don Hollingsworth. So it was a great win for both! I decided to talk with both of them about what having Peony 'Lavon' win Best in Show meant to each of them. Here's what they said...

Don Hollingsworth Hybridizer of Peony 'Lavon'
(named after his wife Lavon)
and Kent Tretheway, Lavon's Son

Questions for Don Hollingsworth:

How did it feel to have your Peony 'Lavon' honored as the Best In Show flower at this year's APS Convention?

"I was and am pleased. While I have known for decades that peony ‘Lavon’ is capable of making a flower which could rightly be named Best in Show, this is the first time it ever happened. And I must add: this flower winning is remarkable in that it was scarcely half the size and fullness of which ‘Lavon’ is capable. And, I am not second guessing the judges in these remarks. When competent judges do their job, flower condition (freshness, crispness) and symmetry of its anatomy are key considerations and this Best of Show flower was strong among the competition on both counts."

Were you surprised to find out that it won?

"Yes, because that was the first I was aware an entry of ‘Lavon’ had even been staged. I was not tapped for the judging, and my previous partial tour of the staged entries was focused on the hybrids classes and the floral designs, taking pictures. After judging was completed, I happened to enter the room by way of the door near where the Court of Honor was staged. Yes, it was the best possible series of events for me to be not only surprised, but pleasantly so."

How does it encourage you in your hybridizing?

"It reminded me that for years I have been wishing (and trying again and again) to find pollen in current flowers of ‘Cytherea’, which is the pollen parent of ‘Lavon’, also its seven siblings and half-siblings which have earned name registration here."


Therese Sprauer of Brooks Gardens
Accepting her Best In Show Ribbon
for her Peony 'Lavon' Show Flower

Questions for Therese Sprauer:

How did it feel to have your Peony 'Lavon' honored as the Best In Show flower at this year's APS Convention?

"Thank you for asking - it's always a thrill to compete. I really like encouraging others to do the same. I often hear how some growers and gardeners feel intimidated by such huge competition and I hope to encourage all gardeners and growers to bring even a few flowers to enter."

"I was thrilled and honored to learn 'Lavon' was awarded Best in Show/Grand Champion at the 2018 American Peony Society floral exhibit. With such strong competition, it is an absolute joy to learn one of your entries dazzled at the right moment. To share the victory with Don Hollingsworth, the hybridizer, made it even sweeter!"

"A huge thank you to the APS; the many volunteers who tagged and placed entries; and, to our Brooks Gardens team, whose work on the farm allowed me time to select, cut and store peony buds for entry."

Were you surprised to find out that it won?

"The day before the exhibit, I was in the field telling my flower cutter, Rita, that she could now cut any flowers for bouquets, as I was done gathering buds for competition. I then literally snatched two flowers out of her hand and said " Except I will take these two 'Lavon's' to enter in competition tomorrow - they look perfect." I was in a bit of disbelief when I heard that it was, in fact, a 'Lavon' that won - one of the last entries placed on the tables."

How does it encourage you in your peony growing and exhibitions?

"To see a showroom filled with hundreds of beautiful peonies is breathtaking and rewarding to all participants and visitors. I encourage all peony growers and gardeners to participate in the APS floral exhibit. No matter the level of excitement or anxiety one experiences along the way from field to exhibit table, I remind myself and others, 'it only takes one flower'. That's important to remember when you see hundreds, or even thousands of flowers brought in to the prep areas for entry selection. Bring your flowers next year and join in the fun!"

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Judges Select Court of Honor and Best In Show


APS Judges Select Grand Champion / Best In Show


American Peony Society 2018 Court of Honor

After what probably seems like forever for all of the APS Members and members of the public patiently waiting outside the Exhibition room, the judges finalize their class decisions, everything is recorded, and the final judging to select the American Peony Society 2018 Exhibition Court of Honor is completed. All of the hard work from all of the show participants, volunteers, and Exhibition Co-Chairs - the transportation of flowers to the show, the prepping and tagging of peony specimens, the classifying of flowers, the judging of each class, the recording of awardees, and the placement of ribbons - is finally realized, resulting in the Court of Honor. The whole thing is like a symphony with the Exhibition Co-Chairs, David and Linette, serving as the conductors. The exhibitors, volunteers, and judges are the musicians who carefully play their instruments, the peonies. The Exhibition Chairs skillfully conduct this floral symphony, which each phase of the exhibition carefully played as if a movement in a sonata. When the flower show opens, we have reached the finale! The doors of the Exhibition Room are thrown open, and everyone is invited inside to find out who's won, to see what curious new peonies on the entry tables pique their interest, and chat with all of the fellow peony enthusiasts about our favorite flower!

Photo Collage
American Peony Society 2018
Reserve Champion, Grand Champion, Best Novice

Peony 'Pastelegance'
Best White / Blush / Yellow Hybrid
Peony 'Theresa Ann'
Best Pink Lutea Hybrd
Peony 'Sonoma YeDo'
Best Intersectional
Best Yellow / Yellow Blend Intersectional
Peony 'Marchioness'
Best Yellow Lutea Hybrid
Peony 'Kansas'
Best Red Lactiflora
Peony 'Bowl of Cream'
Best White Lactiflora
Peony 'Class Act'
Best Blush Lactiflora
Peony 'Angel Choir'
Best White Suffruticosa
Peony 'Ezra Pound'
Best Pink Suffruticosa
Peony 'Raspberry Charm'
Best Pink / Coral Hybrid
Peony 'Old Faithful'
Reserve Champion
Best Red Hybrid
Peony 'Lavon'
Best In Show
Grand Champion
Best Pink Lactiflora
Peony 'Boreas'
Best Novice
Best Red Lutea Hybrid

Monday, June 18, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Convention Flower Exhibition Show Prep


Richard and Anna with their Tree Peonies
American Peony Society Exhibition Flower Show Prep


Leon, Lore, Cory, and Jeff
American Peony Society Exhibition Flower Show Prep


and Steve Filling Bottles with Water
American Peony Society Exhibition Flower Show Prep

As soon as people finish their second day of bus tours on Friday afternoon, what happens next? Everyone who's entering flowers in the show (and lots of volunteers aka APS Members) are prepping the peony flowers for the annual American Peony Society Flower Exhibition. People are checking their flowers to make sure they are opening (or not opening) (or opening too much)! Everyone is checking flower forms and color against the dizzying number of potential peony exhibition classes that can be entered. People are filling bottles with water for the exhibits. People are selecting, grooming, and placing flowers into bottles to be exhibited. People are filling out entry tags for each individual entry with the exhibitor, division, class and variety name. People are running the finished entries from the prep room to the exhibition room and placing them in their marked exhibition category. Everyone's goal is to get as many flowers into the show before the exhibition chairs make the call to close the exhibition room. The exhibition chairs must allow enough time for judging to take place. So the exhibition room must be closed to additional entries prior to the show opening. The flower show is an exciting time for exhibitors hoping to win ribbons, and the American Peony Society's best opportunity to showcase the king of flowers, the peony, to the public.

David, Jill, and Carol Prepping Flowers
American Peony Society Exhibition Flower Show Prep


Lore, Jim, and Linette, APS Exhibition Co-Chair
American Peony Society Exhibition Flower Show Prep


David, APS Exhibition Co-Chair
American Peony Society Exhibition Flower Show Prep

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

2018 American Peony Society Tours Portland Rose Garden

The next and last stop on the American Peony Society 2018 Convention Tour was the Portland Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. While there were some roses blooming, I wasn't as impressed with the rose garden as I'd expected. Maybe it was because we were just before their peak bloom season. So most of their roses weren't open yet. Or maybe it was because I thought the garden would be larger than it was. Or maybe it was because the tour we were on was guided, and we didn't get to see the whole thing, only the parts our tour guide took us too. Our tour guide was very nice and seemed quite knowledgeable about the garden. She told us about how they kept a garden of every rose that won the Rose Society's yearly award. She told us about how they had a Rose Festival every year, and there was a Rose Queen crowned each year, a young lady who is judged on intellect and contribution to society instead of her physical appearance.

Yellow Rose

Our tour guide also told us about their spray programs at the rose garden - both insecticides and fungicides to keep the bugs and rose diseases at bay. It was all quite informative, but I do much prefer peonies to roses. Even though peonies' bloom season is much shorter than roses, they do not require all of those chemicals to keep them looking nice and pest free. I think I'd like to visit Portland Rose Garden again sometime in the future during their peak bloom season to see more of the roses in bloom and have a chance to explore the garden in whole on my own, at my leisure. It seemed like a nice place to visit, a public park that anyone can go to visit at any time for free. What a nice benefit for the citizens of Portland. I was also told that many marriage proposals and weddings happen in the Portland Rose Garden as well. How lovely!

Purple Roses

Please Note: The rose photos included in this article are actually ones I took during the 2018 American Peony Society Convention Sebright Gardens Tour. I forgot my camera (and phone!) on the tour bus during the Rose Garden Tour. So I wasn't able to capture any photos at the Portland Rose Garden.