Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Fall Peony Cleanup

It's time for winter. Today is the Winter Solstice in fact. So I am a little late cutting back the dead peony foliage this year, but I did get some of it done before winter. I spent some time yesterday removing the dead peony stems and leaves from the herbaceous peonies. The foliage can carry the spores from the botrytis blight and reinfect next years stems. So it is important to remove all stems and leaves from and put this dead foliage in the trash. It is important not to leave these remains or compost them, as the diseases may still propagate. Here are some photos of my 'Karl Rosenfield' peony before and after cleanup. As you can see the hot pink buds for next years stems are visible above ground. Since I live in a southern climate, it is important that the peony be planted at this depth to get the required amount of chilling hours required for flowering.

Peony 'Karl Rosenfield'

Another interesting thing I've noticed the past 2 winters is that one of the intersectional peonies that I have, 'Yellow Crown', sends up new shoots in late summer/early fall that don't seem to die back with the first frost and last for some time into winter. The original shoots from spring have died back, but the later growth still remains.

Peony 'Yellow Crown'

Another intersectional peony that I have, 'Bartzella', has kept above ground stems like a tree peony. I accidentally cut off one of the stems before I realized they had buds on them. I don't know if the stems will survive the winter, but since this peony has never produced any flowers, I am going to leave them in place. It will be an interesting experiment to see if they survive the winter and produce any flowers.

Peony 'Bartzella'

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 Fall Peony Orders

Well, it's that time of year again, fall planting! I can hardly wait for the orders to arrive all year. You have to get your orders in early in the year if you want to get certain varieties. The best ones sell out quick. This fall planting season is especially unique because a peony I have been wanting for 3 years (or more) has finally arrived, Peony Lavender, from hybridizer Saunders. I would love to expand the work done in the field of lavender colored peonies. All shades of purple are my favorite color. I have been trying to get Don Hollingsworth to sell me a Peony Lavender root for some time, and this year he decided to put it in his catalog. So I didn't waste any time putting my order in. I also ordered it from Hidden Springs Flower Farm last year, but they decided they couldn't ship any. So I requested they send it this year, but they didn't and just sent a refund. That was very disappointing, but now I finally have one from Don.

The fall orders have been arriving these past few weeks. I waited until I had them all so that I could take some pictures and compare the packing materials, the size and condition of the roots, and my overall opinion of the vendors. So this is what I came up with:

Gilbert H. Wild

  • Packing Material: sawdust and clear plastic bag
  • Size of Roots: small to medium
  • Condition of Roots: wet and firm

Hidden Springs Flower Farm

  • Packing Material: peat moss and plastic garbage bag
  • Size of Roots: medium
  • Condition of Roots: moist and firm

Hollingsworth Peony Nursery

  • Packing Material: peat moss, biodegradable peanuts, and green translucent bag
  • Size of Roots: large
  • Condition of Roots: dry and firm

Song Sparrow

  • Packing Material: cedar shavings and clear plastic bag
  • Size of Roots: large
  • Condition of Roots: moist and firm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009 Fall Peony Foliage

Peony 'Coral Fay'

Peony 'Prairie Moon'

Fall is just around the corner. So I decided to take some pictures of the fall foliage today. Some of my peonies have already gone dormant for the season like 'Coral Fay'. Others are still going strong with very few signs of wear, like 'Prairie Moon'. Still others are showing signs that the season is very near to the end with powdery mildew and botrytis blight. After growing peonies for 6 years in this location, this is the first year I've ever had powdery mildew. We did have plenty of rain this year. So maybe that had something to do with it. Botrytis blight, however, is a constant.

Powdery Mildew

Botrytis Blight

Sunday, September 6, 2009

2009 Peony Seed Planting

I got the seeds planted in the peony test bed today. Some of them had shriveled quite a bit even though it has only been four days since I collected them. I know some instructions say you have to put them in a bag with moistened peat moss in the fridge, etc. to get them to germinate, but I've had really good luck just planting them in the ground and letting Mother Nature handle things. I finally got around to making the signs to label the peony seedlings. I have planted peony seeds since 2007. So I should have my first flower by 2012! You can see the 2008 peony seedlings in the upper left of this picture. So the seedlings are actually quite small their first year. Peonies are a practice in patience, which I need to learn more of anyway...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2009 Peony Seeds

Today I gathered the peony seeds from their pods. It was a dismal year for seed production. With all of the rain we had during the peony bloom season this year, open pollination was greatly reduced. The rain caused many of the blooms to rot. I was about a month late collecting the seed this year. So a couple of varieties of seed may have been lost because of my delay. From over 50 blooming varieties, I ended up with seed from 8 of them. The most notable was seed from 'Coral Charm'. I will be curious to see if the seed is viable. Only spring will tell..

Southern Peony Welcome

Welcome to the Southern Peony blog. This should be a good place to learn more about peonies as I learn about peonies and how they perform in southern climates. I have always loved peonies ever since I was a small girl admiring them in my grandmother's garden. This is my journey growing, evaluating, dividing, and hybridizing my favorite flower.