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, December 20, 2017

2017 Southern Peony Flower Photos

Well, it's hard to believe that another year is drawing to a close. This year has been busier than I'd like, but still a good one for the most part. Hopefully most of you can say the same, and each of us can find something to be thankful for. Since I've not had much of a chance to make many updates here lately, I'm quite a bit behind on my yearly goal of getting out a new photo each month, so 12 per year. You may have noticed that I've put a couple out in the last few days. I'm still trying to meet my 12 photo goal, so you will likely continue to see a flurry of photos in these last few days of the year. You might have seen Peony 'Misaka', Peony 'Yellow Emperor', and Peony 'Sweet May' go up in the last week. Keep your eyes open, there will be a few more coming before year end! You can find these and the rest of our peony photos on our Photos Page. I hope you all enjoy. :-)

Peony 'Misaka' 美 (Beautiful Blossom)
Smith Opus 1

Peony 'Yellow Emperor'

Peony 'Sweet May'

Saturday, October 7, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Tour of Southern Peony's Garden

Southern Peony Gardens

APS Members Enjoying Watermelon
APS Tour of Southern Peony

Even though there was not a peony on any peony bush in my yard, I was still thrilled to give my fellow American Peony Society members a tour of my garden, here at Southern Peony. It was a bright day with blue skies, and thankfully, no rain. It was definitely on the warmer side. So I had plenty of watermelon (and water!) to try to keep people cool. Also I managed to save a few of my smaller peony side buds in the fridge (the main buds had to go into the American Peony Society Convention Flower Exhibition), for display in vases on my back deck.

Peony Side Buds in Blue Glass Vase
APS Tour of Southern Peony

APS Memebers in Intersectional Peony Garden
APS Tour of Southern Peony

I also made laminated peony signs to place all around my garden to show people what kind of peonies were planted where. I had signs for Intersectional Peonies, Pink Peonies, Red Peonies, Single Peonies, Double Peonies, Tree Peonies, etc. I think it was helpful for people to visualize what kind of peonies I grow. I was also very happy to have so many growers get a better look at how peonies grow here in the South.
Peony Signs
APS Tour of Southern Peony

Pecan Sandies and Watermelon
APS Tour of Southern Peony

I hope everyone was able to take away something from the Southern Peony garden tour, a new idea for their garden, a new peony they'd like to grow, a new perspective on growing peonies in warmer climates, or whatever it may be. I was certainly pleased to host everyone and had a great time showing you all my garden, and I hope everyone had a great time here as well. Thank you to the American Peony Society for giving Southern Peony this opportunity, and thank you to all of the APS Members that attended the 2017 APS Convention and the Southern Peony tour!

APS Members and Me
APS Tour of Southern Peony

P.S. - Thank you to my friend, Janice, and my sister in law, Caz, for taking these lovely photos!

Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Convention Tour of Plant Delights Nursery & Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Tony Avent Leading the American Peony Society Tour
of Plant Delights Nursery

Everyone seemed to enjoy the witty antics and educational tour given by Plant Delights Nursery owner, Tony Avent. He showed off all kinds of rare plant hardier than their "normal" growing zones and told us about his current mission - to continue to find and spread rare plants far and wide for the people for prosperity for the earth's own genetic biodiversity. He also shared with us about his plans to end his nursery business within 10 years, while he's set up a fund that he would like to build up between now and then so that the Juniper Level Botanic Garden will be fully self funded and continue into perpetuity for all future generations to enjoy, share in, and learn from.

Canna Lilies at Plant Delights Nursery

Purple Flower at Plant Delights Nursery

Century Plant at Plant Delights Nursery

Tony also shared with us about his mission of busting gardening myths. Growing daylilies beside hostas (sun and shade) and acidic plants near basic ones. He likes to try to grow plants outside of their normal USDA growing zones. He shared with us that the Juniper Level Botanic Garden does not use any fertilizers whatsoever - that their focus is on the preparation of the soil, which is 50% local dirt (mostly sand where he lives) and 50% compost that is made on site.

Tony Concludes the American Peony Society Tour
of Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Tony also boasted that Juniper Level Botanic Garden is in the top %5 of gardens worldwide in terms of biodiversity, which is really impressive. (However I think he really want to be #1). :-) The garden includes over 22,000 taxa of plant life. After our tour, we all took a break in the shade and enjoyed our local NC Barbeque lunch with vinegar-based pulled pork barbeque, fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, and hush puppies. All in all, I think this might have been our best garden tour this year.
Daniel, Sheryl, Anna, Richard, John, & Adrienne
Me & Tony Avent
Nate, David, & Jim
Joyce, Jennifer, & Jeff
Eileen & Don
Louise, Kathleen, & Marie
Piet, Vriends, Lia, & Dick
Carolyn (My Grandma) & Me

Thursday, June 8, 2017

2017 American Peony Society Convention Tour of JC Raulston Arboretum

Our tour bus dropped us off right at the new archway entrance for the JC Raulston Arboretum, a stainless steel archway with Japanese Maple leaves scattered throughout, giving it the effect of a sky of silver stars. Mark Weathington, Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum greeted our group at their Visitors Center, not far from the arched entrance. We toured their Scree and Xeric Gardens, Asian Valley - which did include some tree peonies, traditional Japanese Gardens - one of my favorites, Lath House, Plantsmen's Woods - which contained the bulk of the peonies donated by the American Peony Society. We also toured their Rose Garden which is now mixed with other perennials and their White Garden. Mark mentioned that they have over 6000 species of plants on just 10 acres. So if you'd like to see all kinds of plants in a more condensed setting, JC Raulston Arboretum is the place to find them all!

Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum,
Greets us at their Visitor Center