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Friday, May 6, 2022

2022 Southern Peony Bloom Season

I must say this has been one of the weirdest bloom seasons I've seen in a while, and I am learning to be grateful for what and however Mother Nature decides to unfold herself...

2022 Southern Peony Bloom Season

Our early season hebaceous peonies and tree peonies experienced a late frost, which did abort several in process bloom buds, even large ones, which was quite dissappointing.

Although our drought levels here in my county are considered normal, No Drought, some counties directly to our east are in Abnormally Dry, Moderate Drought, and Severe Drought conditions. I would say that it does seem a bit drier here than usual this spring, which I feel like has decreased the number of above ground stems the peonies have decided to send up. This dryness has also however prevented almost all botrytyis blight - which is a good thing!

2022 Southern Peony Bloom Season

We've gotten a couple of heavy rains after extended dry periods, which seemed to spur a few peonies into sending up a late stem or two. On some of these late stems, we got some blooms that opened on plants long after all of their other buds were completely finished blooming.

The late freeze we experienced aborted many main buds on plants, leaving some side buds undamaged. The absence of the aborted main buds and subsequent development of these side buds really impacted the initial bloom dates of these peonies. The remaining side buds bloomed much later than the normal bloom date for these peonies, causing a mixup of bloom dates with peonies all around the spectrum. This main bud damage was noted in all 3 forms of peonies - tree peonies, herbaceous peonies, and intersectional peonies.

2022 Southern Peony Bloom Season

We've also experienced some interesting temperatures as well. The beginning of the season started out with mild/normal temperatures. The middle of the peony bloom season was very hot, a couple of weeks of 80 degree temperatures, which really shrivels blooms quickly! The end of the peony bloom season seems to be leveling out in temperatures again, back to the mild/normal pattern, with temperatures back in the 70s most days, which is gorgeous weather here for this time of year!!

This lowering of temperatures at the tail end of our peony season has really made it nice for the mainstay and late herbaceous peonies. I can't wait to continue to see how they unfold! I hope your peony bloom season is going well, no matter your location, and don't forget to stop and smell the peonies!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

2022 Southern Peony Easter Egg Hunt

Southern Peony Easter Egg Hunt

I am once again reminded of how the simple things in life can be so meaningful. Being able to gather with friends and family, something we all took for granted not so long ago, was not an option for many during the global pandemic. I am so grateful that we are once again able to share a tasty meal, celebrate a spring holiday, and watch the children run and play in the garden amongst the flowers.

Southern Peony Easter Egg Hunt

These photos are from last Sunday, and I am not sure why I couldn't get an in focus photo of my little boy. Maybe he was too excited to find the eggs and running too fast for the camera. The peonies and irises were definitely putting on a colorful show. Not everything is in bloom yet, but many of the earlier peony varieties had flowers, and a few of the intersectional peonies were starting to open too.

Southern Peony Easter Egg Hunt

I think everyone had a good time, with plenty of eggs (and candy) to go around. This year we also threw some Easter Eggs into the lawn, just to watch the kids race to the eggs. :-D I also found 3 more unfound eggs out in the garden this weekend (a week later). So the kids didn't find them all. I bet I haven't found them all yet either! We were definitely blessed to be able to share Easter with my granparents, parents, brother's family, and friends. I hope each one of you had a nice Easter as well, and you found a little time to spend out in the flower garden!

Southern Peony Easter Egg Hunt

Friday, April 22, 2022

2022 Southern Peony @ Blossom + Bone Flower Arranging Workshop

Southern Peony Flower Workshop Bouquet with Blossom + Bone

I have been pretty busy this past week, not in the garden but at our quarterly All Hands Meeting at work. This time, though, I actually got to do an activity with and learn something about flowers! How cool is that? (especially since software is my day job)? We were given three options for the social activity on the final day of the meeting, and one of the options was a flower arranging class with Blossom + Bone, a local Durham, NC florist. Of course I picked that one, and I made a thing...

Southern Peony Flower Wrapped Workshop Bouquet

We were allowed to choose the flower colors for our bouquets and the greenery. I decided to pick some of the more lavender colors for my bouquet (of course). There were so many pretty flowers to choose from though, there were bright, sunny yellow snapdragons and neon orange poppies that really grabbed your attention. Even though there weren't any peonies to put in our bouquets, I still had a great time thinking about how to best use the greenery, how to fill in dead space in an arrangement, and how to coordinate (or contrast) the colors in your bouquet. It was so much fun, and I can't wait to put my flower arranging skills to good use again at the upcoming APS Convention!

Blossom + Bone Florals

How can you not love a florist that has an intersectional (itoh) peony on the front page of their web site? Blossom + Bone Florals. I had such a great time meeting some of the ladies of Blossom + Bone, and getting to chat with them about their backgrounds. I even got to hang out with a fellow lefty that helped me tie my bouquet with twine. She had previously worked on a flower farm (after graduating college), and it was fun to hear her stories on how to grow some of the trickier types of flowers. I am filled with gratitude for being able to meet some other flower aficianados, spend some fun time with my colleagues, and get to take home an awesome floral bouquet!!

Sunday, January 30, 2022

2022 Southern Peony New Topic Labels for Price Comparison Lists

While working on my Peony Price Lists this year, 2022 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List & 2022 Herbaceous Hot 100 Peony Catalog Price Comparison List, I noticed that is was hard to see the prices and varieties side by side for past years, when looking at the topic for "Price List". On the Southern Peony Popular Topics page, you can look at articles by topic. When you click on Price List, it takes you to all of the previous price list articles for both herbaceous and intersectional peonies. Usually if you want to compare, you probably want to see all of the past varieties offered or past prices listed for just one type or the other (herbaceous OR intersectional), but not both.

Southern Peony Popular Topics

So I decided to create 2 new labels and add them to the Popular Topics page, one for herbaceous peonies "Price List Herbaceous" and one for intersectionals "Price List Intersectional". So now you can click on just the type you are interested in viewing, and only those price lists will come up. I hope this new feature is helpful for you when comparing prices and varieties, checking which vendors may have offered which peony varieties in the past, etc. Happy Peony Hunting!!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

2021 Year in Review

Wow, I can't believe it's almost Christmas already!! 1 week from today! Where has the year gone? I hope all of you are doing well. I know that this global pandemic has been hard on all of us. I hope that each of you has taken the time to take care of yourselves and find some time of peace, respite, and relaxation in your gardens. Even in the fall and winter, it is still nice to get outside, take a stroll, get some fresh air, and see what Mother Nature has been doing.

Intersectional Peony 'Keiko'

I'm not sure what the American Peony Society has been up to, but I am really hoping that I am able to join all of my peony friends again at next year's APS Convention. I recently changed jobs this year, and I am hoping for a better work/life balance in 2022. I think many people have been searching for the same thing. As the world has met the challenge of covid and all of its variants, people have reexamined what is most important to them in life.

Even though I didn't post anything the rest of this year, it doesn't mean I didn't take any peony photos in 2021. I actually have over 2,500 photos from 2021 (which is a lot less compared to 2020 - 9,250! - I might have overdone it last year! HA :-D) Anyway, I'm hoping to see what I can get put out at the tail end of 2021. I'm almost on vacation for the rest of the year, Monday will be my last working day in 2021. So I'm hoping to have some time to devote to my peony passion to round out the year.

I have some Southern Peony Best Performers I'd like to tell you about, plenty of nice "head shots" to add to my Peony Photos, and some new Color Classifications that I managed to collect! :-) And that photo above? Intersectional Peony 'Keiko' - one of my favorites!!! Can I nominate her every year for a Best Performer? So consistently beautiful! LOVE IT!!! 💗

Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 Southern Peony Happy New Year!

Southern Peony - Happy New Year!

Well, 2019 was definitely quite a year - a new job for me, a new job for my husband, a new teenager, a new kindergartener, new big girl and big boy beds (queen & twin), an extended visit from the in-laws, a trip to Yellowstone, and so much more. This year has definitely been an adventure and like every year has had its ups and downs, failures and successes, with a range of emotions in between. The most important thing to remember is to keep going! No matter what life brings you, it is always changing, expect the unexpected and look forward to each new day.

I haven't been on here in a while - at first because of time constraints and then because of computer constraints. I'm not sure the first constraint is fixed, but the second one is definitely fixed. My computer now has a new hard drive in it to help store all of my photos (so I can keep on taking them - and sharing them with all of you)! I am very grateful for each and every one of my peony friends and feel lucky to have another year to share in our love of the peony flower and growing it to its fullest potential. May each and every one of you be successful in your peony gardening pursuits this year!!!

Friday, December 7, 2018

2018 More Light for Tree Peonies, Sweet Gum Ball & Poplar Trees Gone!

Southern Peony Trees Removed

I can hardly believe it!!! The sweet gum ball trees are finally gone! I have been wanting those tree removed for years now! I actually had the money saved up since August, but I couldn't get anyone out here to do the work (since we had two hurricanes this year, most of the tree service companies are staying pretty busy). I finally got one of the guys who brings me free mulch to take the trees out for me. It ended up costing me a bit more, but they did a great job, were really nice, and super professional. At first I was only going to take down 5 trees, then 6, and at the last minute, I went for 7. I'm so glad I did because that last one was a really large sweet gum ball that continuously drops those hateful spiky balls into my yard. If they haven't found a way to stick my fingers or feet, then one of us is slipping on them about to fall down.

Tree vs. Crane

Crane Won!

Besides getting rid of the sweet gum balls (and the potential hazard to our house if they fell over), I now have lots more sun for my peonies, especially my tree peonies. I am so excited to see how they will grow now. I even took some extra time to make sure they were marked and protected before the crew began their work. For the tree peonies directly underneath the sweet gum balls, I covered them with 5 gallon buckets and hammered metal garden stakes into the ground around them to keep them in place. Then I wrapped the tops of the stakes with hot pink flagging tape. Several people told me I'd better dig them up and move them temporarily, but since I decided not to grind the stumps that were very near the tree peonies, I decided not to dig them up. I figured I'd probably damage them more than the tree people would.

Tree Peonies Protected During Tree Removal

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'
Covered with a 5 Gallon Bucket and Flagging Tape

I guess I got lucky. It seemed to work pretty well. My tree peonies weren't very old yet. So they weren't too big to cover. I guess if they would have been even larger, I would have had to figure out something bigger to cover them with. Luckily they weren't too large, and all of the tree service people were very careful to try not to touch them. I also roped off my larger tree peony area with stakes and flagging tape to make sure they didn't step in that area. They kept out of it for the most part. I think a couple small twigs might have fallen in, but I don't think I lost any buds. A couple of my plant stakes did get pulled up, but that's not too big a big deal. All in all, I think it was a pretty successful operation, and I'm very excited to see how well everything grows next spring!!!

Tree Peony Garden Protected with Flagging Tape

Sunday, November 25, 2018

2018 Southern Peony NOT Selling on Ebay

Southern Peony NOT Selling on Ebay

So this happened... Someone decided to use a photo of mine to sell something on Ebay (without my permission). I just wanted to make sure everyone knows this is not me selling peonies on Ebay. If I decided to sell peony roots on Ebay, you all would be the first to know! I have purchased one root from this seller in 2015, which is mentioned in my 2018 Ebay Peony Seller Reviews, but I am not yet certain of its identity. I sent the seller a nice note asking them to either give Southern Peony credit for the photo and add a disclaimer that we were not selling this peony or to take the photo down. If the seller does not respond, my next step will be to contact Ebay. Let's see how this one turns out...

Friday, November 9, 2018

2018 To My Wife The Queen of Southern Peony

This doesn't happen super often, but this time it was especially sentimental. My husband gave me a birthday card that just melted my heart. The thoughts he wrote on the inside were nice too, but the envelope is what really got me. I have been growing peonies for 15 years now, and running this site for 9. No one has ever referenced me in this way (addressing my love of peonies), and it really got me. He addressed the envelope to my birthday card "To My Wife The Queen of Southern Peony". What a nice way to recognize and pay homage to something that is such passion of mine and a big part of my life. :-) Sorry this is a little sappy, but I just had to share it with you all! It really made my heart jump!

Birthday Card Envelope
"To My Wife The Queen of Southern Peony"

Thursday, October 25, 2018

2018 Southern Peony 'Hillary' Ships to Winner - Jill in MN

The first of this month, October, I shipped out the prize to the 2018 Southern Peony Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' Winner Selected in April. The winner was Jill from Benson, Minnesota. The growing zone in Benson, MN is 4b. That's 3 whole growing zones colder than ours. I'm sure the Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' will settle in nicely, and I can't wait to hear how it does. Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' is one of our Southern Peony Best Performers. This intersectional peony was given away to celebrate an amazing milestone for us, 2018 Southern Peony Hits 250,000 Pageviews!!. Next year will be our 10 year anniversary, so keep your eye out for another great giveaway to celebrate our 10 years of writing about peonies! Thanks again to each and everyone of our loyal Southern Peony readers!

Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' Ships to Winner
in Benson, MN, Growing Zone 4b

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!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

2018 Southern Peony Intersectional Peony 'Hillary' Winner Selected

Intersectional Peony 'Hillary'

Well, many of you made guesses as to what intersectional peony the lucky winner would be receiving (to celebrate our latest milestone - 2018 Southern Peony Hits 250,000 Pageviews!!), and many of you guessed right! It is Intersectional Peony 'Hillary', a gorgeous double flowering peony with many shades of pink, hybridized by Roger Anderson and registered in 1999. If you don't grow this peony, I highly recommend it. The flowers on this peony are huge, with so many petals, and of a color that is not too common in intersectionals. The winner of the lovely peony has already been emailed. The winner has 3 days to respond, and if no response, another name will be selected. Congrats!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018 Southern Peony Celebration Intersectional Peony ???

Southern Peony Gives Intersectional Peony '???'

To help us celebrate our recent milestone, 2018 Southern Peony Hits 250,000 Pageviews!!, we are giving an intersectional peony to one lucky reader. It is the one pictured in our celebration photo. Can anyone guess what interesectional peony it is? Here are a couple more photos as a hint in case you need it... This really is an awesome intersectional peony, and I'm really excited to share this peony with a Southern Peony fan. The first two photos here are taken in the sun, and the last one is taken in the shade, just as the bud started to open. So you can see what a beautiful color range this peony has (and what a difference sun vs. shade makes in photographs!). If you are interested in winning this intersectional peony, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter. The winner will be drawn at the end of this week, March 31, 2018, and the intersectional peony will be shipped bare root this fall.

Double Blooms on Intersectional Peony '???'

Southern Peony Reaches 250,000 Pageviews
Intersectional Peony '???'

Monday, March 19, 2018

2018 Southern Peony Hits 250,000 Pageviews!!

Wow! Southern Peony has just hit two hundred and fifty thousand pageviews, thats 250,000, that's a quarter of a million!!! Thanks to all of you - we've made it this far. I appreciate all of the likes and shares on social media. We've also reached over 250 likes/followers on Facebook. :-) I also enjoy reading and responding to the comments you leave here. It's also great when you tell your friends about us and help us share the peony wealth! That is the goal - to spread the love of peonies far and wide. To that end we are hosting another giveaway, just like our last one, 2015 Southern Peony Giveaway - Itoh Peony 'Bartzella', except this time, we are giving away a different Intersectional Peony...

Southern Peony Reaches 250,000 Pageviews

Intersectional peonies really do grow so well here in the South. I recently heard from our last winner, and she said her Peony 'Bartzella' plant is doing well and developing buds again this year. How exciting! The winner of this year's peony will be drawn from our email subscriber list on March 31, 2018, and the peony root will be shipped this fall. So if you'd like to join us, please do. We just got a new email format too, 2018 Southern Peony Gets New Email Format. The name of the intersectional peony will be announced later this month. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

2018 Southern Peony Gets New Email Format

Southern Peony is getting a brand new email format. We are moving away from the Feedburner service and are now starting to use the Mail Chimp service. It offers much more flexibility when it comes to customizing and designing the email layouts. Our new email layout has links right in the email that allow you to like and share our articles on social media. We appreciate all of the likes, shares, and comments on our content. We hope you all continue to share our page and our articles with your gardening friends. The format also works well on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets too. I hope you all enjoy the new look, and if you haven't signed up for our email newsletter yet, you can do so on the left side of our page under "Subscribe via Email". We are on track to hit 250,000 pageviews this month, and we will be doing another giveaway like the one we did in 2015 to celebrate 100,000 pageviews, 2015 Southern Peony Giveaway - Itoh Peony 'Bartzella'! The winning name will be drawn from our email subscriber list. So now's the time to sign up if you're not already on our mailing list!

Southern Peony New Email Format

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2017 Southern Peony Gets a New Look

You might have noticed... Southern Peony recently got a new look. The conversion took place a little at a time over the last month or so. Thank you for putting up with our construction dust while all of the new code was being put into place! I hope you all like the new look, and I think it is a huge improvement over our last look - more colors, more flowers, and of course more peonies! We've also given you the capability to like and share all of our posts on Facebook, and look for the capability to Pin your favorite Southern Peony photos to your own Pinterest board soon! I hope you find the new features, layout, and look to your liking and hope the new sharing features will enable you to share the love of peonies with everyone you know! :D

Southern Peony's New Look

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 Southern Peony Joins Pinterest

In light of the article I shared with the American Peony Society on Facebook, The PEONY makes a comeback as best-selling summer flower following Pinterest popularity, I have decided to create a Southern Peony Pinterest page. I only have a few pins so far. So there's not much to look at yet, but there is a lot more to come! Also I'll be looking at adding Pinterest support to this site as well, so that you can Pin your favorite Southern Peony pictures to your own Pinterest boards! I'm not sure exactly where this endeavor will lead, but I have a feeling that spreading the love of peonies far and wide is one of them! :-)

Southern Peony Joins Pinterest
Peony 'Kopper Kettle'

Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 Southern Peony Garden Party

My First Ever Southern Peony Garden Party was yesterday, and it was definitely a success, and brought a smile to many faces (including mine)! :-) There were still some peonies blooming. However, I will definitely have the party earlier next year when there are more peonies blooming. We are at the end of Week 6 / beginning of Week 7 here. So we are really at the end of the peony season. I think Week 4 / 5 would probably be ideal. So I am going to try for the beginning of May next year. The foliage as well as the flowers of my garden entertained (as well as my fairies!) ;-) There were some other things blooming besides peonies too - amaryllis, polyantha roses, irises, daylilies, annuals, etc. There were plenty of snacks, flavored teas, and of course homemade ice cream - the blueberry and strawberry combination flavor was definitely my favorite! All in all, it was a good day, with nice weather, and great company!

Southern Peony Garden Party

Sunday, May 8, 2016

2016 Southern Peony BEST. FLOWER. EVER.

I just couldn't resist sharing this photo of my flower, my little baby Maddox. I can only call him baby for a little while longer as he's almost a toddler. (Although he'll always be my baby.) He'll be 2 on June 1st. Maddox loves the "hua huas" - Chinese baby talk for flowers. He wanted to smell this peony and accidentally took a few petals off to smell them. I usually don't want him to pick them, but how could I resist this cuteness? Being a Mama is definitely a lot of work, but so worth it. I love him so much, and will always treasure this time when he is little, and I can have him near me every day. :-)

Maddox Smelling Peony 'Burma Joy'

Also here is a picture of Isabella pulling Maddox in the garden cart. When Maddox is "helping" me in the garden, I will sometimes give Maddox a ride back in the garden dump cart after the cart has been dumped. Isabella remembered this, and decided to take Maddox on a garden cart joy ride! They were so cute, I just couldn't resist snapping this photo!

Isabella Pulling Maddox in the Garden Cart

Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 Southern Peony Grandma's Peonies

This past Friday I went to visit my Grandma and see her flower garden. She is the reason I wanted to grow peonies. My Grandma always has always had the best and biggest flower garden of anyone in our family, and I loved helping her in her flowers when I was a child. She likes to tell everyone the story of how I would stay outside deadheading flowers in her garden for her, long after she and my cousin had grown tired and gone inside. We took this photo in her garden on Friday. These two white peonies are some divisions from one of the original peony bushes she had in her garden when I was young. Back then Grandma's peony bushes seemed to be 4 or 5 feet tall, and the flowers were huge and smelled so good! Either I had quite the imagination or I was just much smaller and the perspective made them seem like giants! I'm guessing these "giant" double peonies are Peony 'Festiva Maxima' since they are fragrant, large, white double peonies with a few specks of red in the center. I love my grandmother very much and I feel very grateful to her for giving me the love of gardening, flowers, and especially peonies!

My Grandma and Me with her White Double Peonies