Articles about Peony seed
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Sunday, January 26, 2020

2020 Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' Open Pollinated Seeds Found During Winter Cleanup

While cleaning up yesterday, I found a few seeds on my Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'. I'm not sure if they'll grow or not since I've waited so long to harvest them, but I figure I'll try anyway. I didn't even realize they were there. I was about to throw the whole stem and seed pod away when I noticed those beautiful, shiny seeds. So I just grabbed the whole seed pod off the stem before trashing it. I need to make a sign for the seeds before I plant them.

Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' Seed Pod

I had also found a few seeds on Peony 'Faithful Dream' this year. I don't remember pollinating either of these flowers, so I'm assuming they are both open pollinated. Mother Nature may have created something nice, though. I'm kind of curious to know what DNA is waiting inside those tiny seeds. Only time will tell, so I'd better get to work planting them. If you find any seed pods with seeds in them in your garden while cleaning up, plant them out somewhere. You never know what might grow from them! :-)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

2019 I Finally DID IT! My First Intersectional Peony Seedling-s!

I can't believe it. I think just when you finally give up on something, it actually happens. Self doubt creeps in, you start second guessing all of your steps, trying to figure out where you went wrong, and begin to wonder if you will ever reach your goal. You start to think it may never happen, and then it does. All of the hard work you've put in all along begins to pay off. Those thoughts of failure suddenly turn into realizations of success! As soon as that goal is reached, the next one starts to materialize. There is always something new to strive for...

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

Peony Seedlings 2017 Sign
'Martha W.' X Nate Bremer's Rainbow

Somehow after years of trying, an intentional peony cross of mine finally succeeded. These two particular intersectional seedlings started out as just a happen chance idea in 2016. During the 2016 APS Peony Convention Tour of Solaris Farms, I was learning quite a lot from Don Smith, and he asked Nate if he would allow him to collect tree peony pollen from his farm, and Nate graciously invited us to collect as much pollen as we liked. Don shared a few of his envelopes with me, and I went to work, following his lead. My eyes and heart led me towards the lavender and purple colored tree peonies. Tree Peony 'Wisteria Reflections' was blooming at the time of our visit, and this was one I collected pollen from and saved it in a separate envelope. Since Don Smith didn't have many envelopes to spare, I collected lots more pollen from a wide range of tree peony colors and put it all in one envelope, which I later labeled "Nate Bremer's Rainbow". :-)

Intersectional Peony Seedling - 'Martha W.' X 'Wisteria Reflections'

Intersectional Peony Seedling
'Martha W.' X 'Wisteria Reflections'

Since my bloom season was over by the time I got home, I froze the pollen in my freezer for use the next year. That was almost 3 years ago now, and I am just now seeing the fruits of that pollen. Also it looks like I planted the seeds a bit late that year in late November, 2017 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Efforts. So maybe if I'd planted them sooner they would have sprouted a year earlier, but who knows? I am just happy I actually got it right this time, unlike the first year I got a seedling to sprout. The only thing that sprouted that year was an accidental herbaceous peony, 2017 First Intersectional Hybrid Seedling Sprouts!. The foliage of that first sprout and these is very obviously different. That 2017 sprout had very rounded foliage with a few "pest" notches where something had eaten a few bites out of each leaf, whereas these 2019 sprouts clearly have deeper cut notched foliage that is reminiscent of tree peonies. The coloring is also different. The 2017 seedling had more red colored foliage upon sprouting with a thicker substance. These 2019 seedlings have a very intersectional grayish colored overcast to them. Very exciting! Also you never know what that first herbaceous sprout from 2017 might be good for, perhaps a good future parent. Sometimes things happen for a reason...

Sunday, February 3, 2019

2019 Planting Open Pollinated Seed from Last Fall

2018 Open Pollinated Seeds in Bags

I know it is a little late, but I guess I just got back around to it. I finally got my seed planted from 2018. Maybe it was because I wasn't very excited about the seeds that I got, or maybe it was because I wasn't that excited about the number of seeds that I got. Whatever the reason, at least I finally got them planted. I guess I was a little disappointed that none of my intersectional crosses worked last year, 2018 Dismal Seed Production Year. Also it was actually a bad year for seed overall. Usually I have enough seeds that I am able to donate some to the American Peony Society Seed Distribution Program (which is a great program if you are looking to grow peonies from seed). This year, however, I only got 18 seeds, not just from one variety, but total - 18 seeds in total. It was a terrible year for seed production.

2018 Open Pollinated Seeds Planting Bed

I guess I finally decided to be thankful for what Mother Nature has given me (plus I got my label maker working again, well, working enough to print out a few seed labels). So I made a few signs for the seeds and got them planted on this nice 60 degree day in February (another thing to be thankful for, especially after the cold arctic blast we got this past week). I highly doubt these peony seeds will sprout this spring since I planted them so late, but at least they're in the ground. Hopefully I'll see some lovely peony blooms from them a few years down the road...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Planting Tree Peony Seeds from Luoyang China

Peony Seeds from Luoyang China with Garden Stakes

It took me a lot longer to figure out how to label these 2018 Tree Peony Seeds from Luoyang, China than it did to actually plant them. I did get them planted last week though, before our big snow, 2018 7 Inches of Snow on Southern Peony Gardens! (just in time, I guess!) I don't know what if anything they will do, but we shall see in the spring, if not spring 2019, then spring 2020, I suppose. I ended up laminating the photos of the seeds and attaching those to some copper garden stakes I had on hand. Since they didn't have an English name printed on them, I couldn't easily print a Brother label for them. Just in case they don't do much, I didn't want to have my husband go to the trouble of trying to figure out the translation for each of them.

Chinese Tree Peony Photo Garden Stakes

So what I did to create these garden stakes was first write a number on every paper and every plastic bag (1-20) so I could keep straight which picture went with which bag of seeds. Then I scanned in all of these tree peony photos in case I need to reference them later. Then I laminated each photo with some UV resistant laminating material. Then I used gorilla tape to affix each laminated photo to the copper garden stake. I'm kind of curious to see how these hold up. Even if these peony seeds don't do much, it will be an interesting experiment to see if the photos fade or not, whether the gorilla tape withstands the elements well, and how these "photo" garden stakes hold up outside.

Copper Tree Peony Garden Stakes

Saturday, November 24, 2018

2018 Tree Peony Seeds from Luoyang, China

Tree Peony Seeds fron Luoyang, China

So there's one thing I didn't mention much about my trip to China this year, the peony seeds I purchased! I got a few here and a few there. Most of the seeds I purchased were just outside the garden gates during my 2018 Southern Peony Visits Luoyang National Peony Garden 洛阳国家牡丹园 (North). The seeds in the tiny plastic zip bags are the ones that came from the Luoyang National Peony Garden. You can see the table they had set up to sell the seeds below. I felt a bit skeptical as to whether these tree peony seeds actually came from the varieties pictured in the packets, but for 1 yuan (17 cents) for 10 packets, how can you go wrong? So I bought two different sets of them. My guess is they may be all the same variety, maybe even herbaceous or p. ostii. Who knows? I must say I am very curious, though to find out. Of course, it will probably take me five years or more to see any blooms from these.

Table of Tree Peony Seeds for Sale

Woman Selling Tree Peony Seeds

The photo above it the woman who sold me the seeds. She told my husband (in Chinese) that she and her husband have their own peony farm. I have no idea if it is true, but it sounds neat. They were also selling several varieties of potted tree (and herbaceous) peonies in full bloom as well. I wish I could have purchased a few of those tree peonies to bring back home! They also showed us how to sprout the tree peony seeds. They just used a plastic water bottle with and inch or inch and a half of water in it. I'm not sure if they put the seeds in the fridge to get them to sprout their roots first or just sprouted both the roots and the leaves in the bottle. That was certainly wild. I wish I could have found out more about how they did it. Maybe I will try a few of my seeds that way just to see what happens. I usually don't have much luck sprouting seeds that aren't in the dirt. I guess I just haven't tried or practiced it enough. I usually end up with mold of some sort.

Peony Seeds Sprouting in Water Bottle

Chinese Tree Peony Seeds

Here are a few more close up photos of the seeds I purchased (front and back of the packaging). You can click any of these photos to see a larger version. I don't know what any of them say. I guess I need to enlist my husband to help me translate them. I just can't decide if it is worth the time and effort to do so. The last time I had him take the time to meticulously translate each and every variety (and make a separate label for each), 2013 Ali Express Chinese Tree Peony Seeds, none of them sprouted!!! (I've placed more than one order for Chinese tree peony seeds in the past, and the other one from Ebay did sprout, 2013 Chinese Peony Seeds from Ebay , 2014 Chinese Tree Peony Seeds Starting to Sprout.) So who knows what these tree peony seeds will do, if they even sprout (I hope so!), or what color they will be, but I am definitely interested to find out!

Chinese Tree Peony Seeds

Chinese Tree Peony Seeds

Monday, November 5, 2018

2018 Dismal Seed Production Year

Empty Peony 'Martha W.' Seed Pods

It was a very dismal year for seed production, especially for the intersectional hybrids I'm working on. I actually got zero seeds! (Zero!), which is very disappointing considering I used so many different varieties of tree peony pollen this year, many frozen and several fresh too! I'm guessing it must have something to do with the weather, since the seed production on many of my other lactiflora peonies was almost nil as well. When I look back at the weather history for April of this year - 2018, it looks like most nights were in the 40s and 50s, but we did get a few 30s later in the month. On 4/17 it was 33°, on 4/20 it was 34°, on 4/21 it was 37°, and on 4/30 it was 36°. Even my Peony 'Green Lotus' and Peony 'Pink Spritzer' (which are usually loaded with seeds) produced nothing as well. The seed pods on my Peony 'Martha W.' plants grew and swelled normally (as if they were incubating lots of fresh black seeds), but when they popped open there was nothing inside but tiny, black failed seeds. Oh well, I guess there's always another opportunity next year, and there's still hoping some of the seeds from previous years (2016 First Intersectional Peony Seeds! and 2017 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Efforts) will germinate this spring. We shall see...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

2018 Third Peony Bloom of the Season - P. Rockii Lavender Tree Peony Seedling

P. Rockii Lavender Seedling

The 3rd peony bloom of the season opened today, well, almost. It didn't quite open all the way. So I guess a bit of the excitement will be saved for tomorrow, but I got to see the full bud on this peony today, and the beautiful lavender color of its petals. The awesome lavender color on this one excites me, as well as the fact that it seems to be so vigorous, blooming much sooner than its siblings, and growing much taller and faster as well. This P. rockii seedling is actually from some seed I bought on Ebay, 2013 Tree Peony P. Rockii Seeds on Ebay, which turned out to be 2013 P. Rockii Peony Seeds from Cricket Hill Garden. It is the first P. rockii tree peony to bloom for me ever. It first bloomed last year, but I mostly missed it, just saw a few petals dropping after the bloom. I have been growing P. rockii's that I bought as plants (from 3 separate sources) longer than this seedling has existed, and they've still never bloomed. This P. Rockii lavender seedling actually has 2 buds on it this year. So I will get the chance to see two blooms on it!

P. Rockii Lavender Seedling with 2 Buds

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2018 Planting Peony Seeds (Late!) ((Again!!))

The peony seeds I planted today are pretty important seeds actually. I purchased them from the APS Seed Distribution Program last year, and some of them are seeds from a really great peony hybridizer that I just missed my opportunity to interview. I had spoken with him by phone just a few days before he passed, and I think he wasn't feeling well. He told me to call him back another time, but unfortunately that "another time" never came. His name was Bill Seidl, and I had the extreme pleasure of visiting his garden after the APS Convention in 2016, where I was able to meet him, hear a few of his stories, and collect 2016 Peony 'Dreamtime' Pollen from Bill Seidl's Garden.

Bill Seidl and Nate Bremer 2016

Some these seeds I ordered are also from Nate Bremer's garden since the seed packs start with "NB-" and appear to be hybrids of some of Bill's and Nate's introductions. I did have the pleasure of interviewing Nate in 2016, and you can read the results of that interview here, 2016 Peony Hybridizer Interview - Nate Bremer. I am very excited to plant these seeds from both of these very successful hybridizers that are helping to create future peony hybrids. In honor of both of them, I thought I'd share a photo of them together and a group photo we took in Bill's garden during my visit in 2016. Most of the seeds I ordered last year were hand pollinated by these two gentleman, for which I am very grateful.

APS Members in Bill Seidl's Garden 2016

So it looks like this is what I ended up with:

2017 APS Seeds
Dreamtime5 seeds
Dreamtime X Seidl Super5 seeds
Dreamtime X Vanilla Gorilla5 seeds
Lemon Chiffon12 seeds
NB-???? (Captain Kate X MRV-11)5 seeds
NB-SH79 (Captain Kate X Angel Emily)5 seeds
NB-SH82 (Angel Emily X MRV-11)5 seeds
NB-SH88 (Rockii hybrid X Captain Kate)6 seeds
NB-SH89 (MRV-11 X MRV-4)5 seeds

Let's see what sprouts!!!

Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 5+ Inches of Snow on Southern Peonies!

5+ Inches of Snow

Well, I'm not sure how we went from 5+ inches of snow cover 4 days ago to no snow and temperatures in the 60s today and tomorrow, but that is definitely North Carolina winter weather for you. We are still experiencing a "Moderate Drought" period right now. So we can definitely use the moisture from the melted snow. I decided to take the opportunity during these couple of warmish days to plant some seeds that I didn't get a chance to plant this past fall. I know the germination rates will probably not be as good planting them now, as they would have been if I'd planted them in the fall, but hopefully they'll all still be okay. I took a small opportunity to get the peony seed garden markers ready for planting, and I am really excited about getting an extra chance to get these special peony seeds in the ground!

Peony Seed Garden Markers

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Efforts

I meant to keep better records this year, I really did, but I didn't. Oh, well. I'm just lucky I got them in the ground! I know I had three types of intersectional peony crosses that were successful in producing seed this year: Peony 'Martha W.' X Tree Peony 'Angel Emily', Peony 'Martha W.' X Tree Peony 'Wisteria Reflections', and Peony 'Martha W.' X Nate Bremer's Rainbow (Tree Peony Pollen Mix). I wasn't able to get any seed from my Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' this year. It didn't have a good year for blooms. I can't remember if it was the cold or the rain, but Mother Nature got the blooms this year, and I wasn't able to hybridize with them. Hopefully better luck this coming spring...

Intersectional Peony Seed Harvest

I also can't remember how many of each seed I got/planted. I know the intersectional peony seed harvest count was much higher this year than last year. Last year I had 7 seeds with my first ever First Intersectional Peony Seeds!. This year, there were probably more than 30 seeds (20+ from Nate Bremer's Rainbow, 5+ from 'Angel Emily', and 5+ from 'Wisteria Reflections'). I harvested them at the end of July, but I didn't get them planted until about a month ago (late November). I think I waited a bit too long to plant them, as some of them had cracked open already. (Maybe those weren't the viable seeds anyway. Who knows???) The Tree Peony 'Wisteria Reflections' pollen and the Nate Bremer's Rainbow tree peony pollen were frozen from the 2016 APS Peony Convention Tour of Solaris Farms. The Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' pollen was fresh from my own tree peony that I've been growing since 2014. I'm guessing the turnout won't be great, but I still can't wait to see what comes up this spring. Maybe some of my 2016 intersectional seeds will sprout this year too! Happy New Year, everyone!

Intersectional Peony Seed Planting

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2017 Tree Peony Seeds from Canada Sprout!

I was beginning to wonder if any of those 2016 Paeonia rockii Purple Tree Peony Seeds that were sent to me as a replacement for the 2015 Purple Peony Rockii Seeds from Ebay Canada were going to sprout. Since none of the seeds from the original batch sprouted, I was worried that the second batch might not sprout either. However it seems the second batch of seeds were good because I now have 5 baby P. rockii tree peony seedlings from the second batch of seeds! How exciting! I am curious to see if any of these grow into a lovely purple flower with dark purple flares like the mother plant. Now that the seeds have actually sprouted, the only thing to do now is wait for a bloom! :-)

P. rockii Seeds Sprout

Friday, May 5, 2017

2017 Red Tree Peony Seeds Sprout!

Red Tree Peony Seedlings Sign

Remember those red tree peony seeds I planted this past fall, 2016 Planting Red Tree Peony Seeds from Georgia? Well, I was beginning to think that they weren't coming up, that perhaps there were not actually viable. However about 2 weeks ago, I finally noticed a few green things popping up in that spot (that weren't weeds). LOL! So far I have 6 baby tree peony seedlings from those 2016 Red Tree Peony Seeds from SP Reader in GA. I'm guessing a few more peony seedlings may still pop up. If not this year, then perhaps next spring. We shall see!

Red Tree Peony Seedlings

Red Tree Peony Seedlings

Red Tree Peony Seedlings

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 Questions - Reliable Source for Peony Seeds

I received this question from Mubarak in zone :

"I am looking for reliable source for peony seed for my home garden. While searching on internet I found your blog Thank you so much for all the information at one place. Please let me know where I can buy seed or can you share some seed with me. I will pay for the postage. Please help me in this regard."

American Peony Society Seed Distribution Sale

I would highly recommend the American Peony Society as the best (and most reliable) place to buy peony seeds. However you do need an APS membership to buy the seeds. One year's APS Membership fee is $25, but it may be worth it if you are buying lots of seeds. Also the seed list for this year was just posted last week, and there are lots of fabulous choices on it. A very talented hybridizer that passed away recently, Bill Seidl, donated all of his seeds to the American Peony Society. So their Seed Distribution Program has lots of rare, hand pollinated, choice seeds (many are limited to 1 pack per person) to choose from.

Also there is an American Peony Society Annual Convention & Show coming up in June of this year in Raleigh, NC. The APS seeds will be at the peony show for sale to the public (no APS membership necessary) and no shipping fee! I'm not sure how far you are from Raleigh, NC, but this will be a great show to see the myriad of peony varieties available, and if you have time, you may want to join APS and attend the whole convention. 😊 Hope to see you there!

2017 American Peony Society Convention

Friday, March 24, 2017

2017 First Intersectional Hybrid Seedling Sprouts!

First Intersectional Hybrid Seedling Sprouts

I can't believe it! Yesterday when I was pulling a few weeds from the bed near the house, I noticed something! Something special. Something I'd been waiting on. Something that was taking so long, I thought it might not come until next year - My First Intersectional Hybrid Seedling Sprout! Wow! That is just an amazing feeling! I did it (with some help from my friends). I can't believe it. I am so excited!!! Now I feel like I have a lot more responsibility. It almost feels like a have another child, and I need to make sure it becomes an adult, watch over it, help it grow, and make sure it stays out of trouble. LOL!

Peony 'Martha W.' Intersectional Seedlings 2016 Sign

Since I've never seen an intersectional peony hybrid seedling before, I guess I cannot be sure that this is definitely a tree/herbaceous peony hybrid. However just looking at the foliage, it seems a little different than my regular herbaceous peony seedlings. The edges of the foliage seems a little less even, and the leaf substance seems a little more billowy and rounded. I will get an expert opinion to double check. If you missed the beginning of this intersectional peony journey, and you'd like to read up on the process to get to this, you might want to read up on a few of my previous posts - 2015 Hybridizing Peony Martha W., 2016 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Seed Pods, 2016 First Intersectional Peony Seeds!, 2016 Planting First Intersectional Peony Seeds.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 Paeonia rockii Purple Tree Peony Seeds

Try, try again. Remember those Purple Peony Rockii Seeds from Ebay Canada last year? Well, after the P. Rockii Seeds Arrived via Air Mail from Canada they seemed a bit dry, and some of the bonus seeds were cracked upon arrival. None of the Purple Paeonia rockii tree peony seeds I ordered or any of the bonus seeds actually germinated this spring. I was quite disappointed. However, I decided to email the seller to see if she might be willing to replace the seeds since none of the actually sprouted. I explained to her that none of the seeds sprouted and nicely asked if she would send me another set of 10 seeds from this year's harvest. She agreed as long I remembered to email her again in the fall with a reminder. I emailed her two weeks ago with my address, and this week I received another set of Paeonia rockii Purple tree peony seeds in the mail. She didn't have to replace them, but she did. I am really happy and excited to see if this set of P. rockii tree peony seeds will actually sprout. It is little things like this that renew my faith in people. I am off to plant these seeds right away!

Replacement Paeonia rockii Purple Tree Peony Seeds

Monday, September 5, 2016

2016 Planting Red Tree Peony Seeds from Georgia

Well, we finally got a break in the dry weather. We've had two rain storms in the past week, and we were sorely in need. We actually did a get the outer edge of Hurricane Hermine that brought us some of this rain, and I am very thankful. So now things in my garden seem like they are happy again instead of pouting and wilted. Now that summer is starting to fade and we are starting to get some cooler temperatures, I took some time this Labor Day to plant out the Red Tree Peony Seeds from SP Reader in GA I received a couple weeks ago. If your garden has started to cool down and moisten up a bit, then now would be a good time to plant peony seeds in your area too. If you don't have any peony seeds, and you'd like to plant some, you should definitely check out the APS Seed Sale. It is only for APS Members, but if you are this interested in peonies and you're not an APS Member yet, you should definitely sign up!

Red Tree Peony Seeds and Sign

I planted these red tree peony seeds in my fledgling tree peony garden. There is still some space here to plant in some nice soil. So I decided to go ahead and plant out these seeds there. To plant the seeds I just got some garden gloves on to prevent dirt from getting under my finger nails. Since I didn't want to cultivate the entire area, I just made some seed holes for the peonies using my thumb. The soil wasn't too hard to work with, and I was able to make a nice divot in the ground for each seed. Then I placed one seed in each hole, covered them with soil, and tamped it down. I can't wait to see what these seedlings may bring. It will take years to know if any of these seedlings will be garden worthy plants, but hopefully it will be worth the wait!

Planting Holes for Red Tree Peony Seeds

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Red Tree Peony Seeds from SP Reader in GA

Southern Peony Reader Photo - Red Tree Peony

Remember the Red Tree Peony photo from a Southern Peony reader from Georgia, USA that I posted earlier this year on Facebook? Well somehow I got lucky enough for him to offer to send me some seeds from the plant. These "Red Tree Peony" seeds just arrived last week, and there are 56 seeds in the bag. I am really excited to see what these seeds have to offer. The bloom on the mother plant is just gorgeous. So I am thrilled to see what the babies may look like. I might wait another week or two before I plant these out in my peony seedling test bed since it has been so hot and dry here the past couple weeks. We just got another rain storm that just wet the pavement yesterday, but it didn't rain enough to measure. We are still waiting for a big rain storm! At this point a weakened hurricane that just sits on top of us for a little while wouldn't hurt. Even though that much rain would start to wash everything away (like mulch), it would be better to have plants that are well watered and missing some mulch than well-mulched plants that are dying of thirst!

Red Tree Peony Seeds from a SP Reader in Georgia, USA

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

2016 Planting First Intersectional Peony Seeds

First Intersectional Peony Seeds from
Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' and Peony 'Martha W.'

I have been mulling over where and how to plant these seeds. I am sure I am putting way too much thought into this. I'm also sure that Mother Nature would likely take much better care of these tiny seeds than I could or would have the time to. So I definitely want to plant them outside somewhere, just where is the question. I have been considering planting them with mulch, without mulch, or maybe even in a peat pot planted in the ground to try to protect it from bugs and critters. I am leaning toward the latter, and even have a few peat pots sitting in my Amazon shopping cart waiting to be checked out.

First Intersectional Peony Seeds Planted in Peat Pots

I did end up ordering the peat pots from Amazon, deciding that I'd try a mix of Mother Nature with (hopefully) a little extra protection from the peat pots. There were 7 seeds total from my 2016 First Intersectional Peony Seeds! harvest this year. There were 2 seeds from Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' and 5 seeds from Peony 'Martha W.' So I got them all lined out and planted. I filled the peat pots with composted cow manure and a bit of soil. I dug a small trench and sunk all 7 peat pots into the ground. Then I pressed one seed into each pot with my finger, and I sprinkled a half a teaspoon of Eco Scraps Organic Fresh Start Plant Food over each peat pot. This fertilizer's N-P-K ratio is 2-14-0 and it designed for "optimum root growth". I'm hoping that this fertilizer will help these baby peony seedlings grow strong roots whenever they sprout!

Eco Scraps Fresh Start Organic Plant Food
and Peony Seeds in Peat Pots

After I sprinkled a little bit of the fertilizer over each peat pot, I firmed the soil up, around, and over the pots. Then I pushed a bit of mulch over the soil covered pots. Lastly I watered them in a bit to make sure they are moist. This particular spot near my house usually is pretty moist already. So hopefully I won't have water them very much. I may pull a bit of the mulch back in the spring just in case there is too much mulch cover. I can't wait to see how many of these will sprout in the spring! The outer casing of one of the Martha W. seeds had already cracked open. I'm not sure if that one will sprout. I put it at the top of the row so I can keep track of it and find out later whether it actually sprouts. We'll see!

Peat Pot with Peony Seed, Compost, Soil, and Plant Food

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2016 First Intersectional Peony Seeds!

First Intersectional Peony Seeds from Peony 'Martha W.'

Well, the seed pods from my first intersectional peony crosses (herbaceous peony X tree peony) finally popped open, and I found (drum roll, please - dun tah duh duh) - 7 seeds! I know it's not a lot, but it's something! Now I'm just trying to figure out where to plant them. I want to make sure they all live, but I'm definitely not up for keeping them indoors with grow lights. So I'm going to have to figure out the safest, most fertile, and most likely to germinate place to grow them. I'm thinking it should be somewhere close to the house so that they will be more protected from wildlife and also have soil with more moisture since the ground near the house gets some extra water run off from rain storms.

Failed Intersectional Seed Pod on Peony 'Martha W.'

Not all of the seed pods that swelled actually produced seed. There were some that swelled, but when they popped open, it was obvious that there were no viable seeds inside. The seed pod developed, but the seeds did not. You can see inside the failed seeds pods miniature seed like vessels hanging from each side of the pod wall. However even though not all swollen pods produced seed, I was able to successfully produce seed on two different herbaceous peony mother plants - Peony 'Martha W.' and Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'. There were 5 seeds from Peony 'Martha W.' and 2 seeds from Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'.

Peony 'Lemon Chiffon' with Tree Peony Pollen Tag

I can't wait to see what kinds of plants these seeds grow into. It just seems wild thinking about the unique genetic code that lies within each of these tiny seeds. I am so excited to see them sprout! Also these seeds were hybridized with tree peony pollen that was given to me. This year at the 2016 American Peony Society Convention, I was able to collect some tree peony pollen of my own, most of it coming from the 2016 APS Peony Convention Tour of Solaris Farms. There were a rainbow of tree peonies blooming in those beautiful gardens. It will be very exciting to see what and how many intersectional peony seeds I will be able to generate next year from the tree peony pollen I collected this year.

First Intersectional Peony Seeds from Peony 'Lemon Chiffon'

Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Seed Pods

Seed Pod on Peony 'Martha W.'

Well I think my Peony 'Martha W.' plants had about 20 blooms on them this spring. However, between kids, work, and the weather, I was only able to pollinate about half of them - 11 blooms. I cut off all of the other blooms that I wasn't able to pollinate so that only the 11 I intentionally hybridized would attempt to set seed. There were 6 blooms pollinated on one plant and 5 blooms pollinated on the other. So of all the pollinated flowers, only half of those actually set seed. One reason for some of the failure may have been because I left the bags that cover the cross on for too long. I didn't think it would harm them, but apparently it does. When I found out, some of them had already been left on for 3-5 days. Apparently you're only supposed to leave the bag on for 1-2 days at the most. This could be why none of my previous crosses have worked.

Peony 'Martha W.' Being Pollinating (April 2016)

1 Seed Pod and 5 Failed Seed Pods on Peony 'Martha W.' (June 2016)

These Peony 'Martha W.' plants were crossed with tree peony pollen. So I can't wait to see what grows from these seeds. Even though I have my first ever intentionally hybridized seeds growing, I don't think I'll feel the entire experiment is a success until I see some of these seeds sprout. (And then I probably won't feel I've made a successful cross until I see them bloom!) So this process will take several years before the real results are known. However, I am excited that the process has begun, and the first step has succeeded!

Seed Pod and Failed Seed Pod on Peony 'Martha W.'

It is easy to see which seed pods are successful and which seed pods failed to produce seed. The seed pods that are actually growing seeds begin to swell and continue to swell as the months progress. However, the failed seed pods will start to shrink and turn brown as the months progress. You can see the very large, swollen, bright green seed pod in the same photo as a very small, dark brown, shriveled seed pod above. Now that I know some rare seeds are coming, I will have to think of a special place to plant these seeds. Of course I will document the germination rates for these seeds next spring. When the leaves start to sprout, then at least I'll know that these truly are intersectional seedlings and will know that the second step has succeeded. I can't wait to see what pops up!

Peony 'Martha W.' Being Pollinated (April 2016)

4 Seed Pods and 1 Failed Seed Pod on Peony 'Martha W.' (June 2016)