Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 APS Peony Convention Arrival

When I got into Omaha tonight, it was almost midnight. The landscape is a bit flat with a nice river, the Missouri. The view of the city at night was beautiful. The lights of the skyline sparkled and were set off by the lit Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Omaha is much more of a city than the site of the last American Peony Society Convention I attended in Janesville, Wisconsin, which was more of a town. I am really looking forward to the garden tours tomorrow, but it is going to be an early start. So I guess I'll catch up on my sleep tomorrow night. :) I haven't had a chance to check into the convention yet. So I'll have to make sure I wake up early enough to check in and be ready to board the tour buses by 7:30am!
Omaha, Nebraska

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012 APS Peony Convention Preparation

I'm going to Nebraska, to Nebraska, to Nebraska. I can't believe it. I leave tomorrow for Omaha. I actually took a day off from work this time. So I'll be arriving Thursday night this time instead of Friday night. One whole extra day of peony goodness! :-P I can't wait! I am mostly finished packing, but I still need to pack my camera, my laptop, chargers, etc. This is going to be an awesome trip. There's a bus tour on Friday of two gardens and a castle, but I think the part I'm looking forward to most is the "Peony Breeders" discussion on Saturday. Also I'm hoping to observe the Board of Directors Meeting on Sunday. Oh, and who could forget all of the gorgeous peonies! (especially since my peony season is over)! It will be like getting another whole weekend of spring! This is going to be awesome. If you're going too, I hope to see you there!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012 Last Blooms of the Peony Season

I can't believe how long the peony season was here this year! Today is the 7th day of week 9! The blooms in the last couple weeks have definitely not been the same as those at the beginning of the peony season which were so delicate and fresh. The last blooms have been wilted, drooping, and crispy brown on the edges. But who is to say that these last blooms are not just as beautiful as the first? Is something old not just as beautiful as something new? Is it not all a part of nature, which is beautiful in all its changing seasons? Why should we value youth and newness more than longevity and age? So here are some pictures I took today of the last blooms of my peony season here in zone 7. I hope you enjoy them and appreciate all nature has to offer in the beginning and the end. :)

Peony 'La Tendresse'

Peony 'Paul M. Wild'

Friday, May 25, 2012

2012 Paeonia Species Peony Seedlings

So I got 9 kinds of peony seeds from the 2010 American Peony Society Convention. I planted them in 2010, but I waited until this year to make sure that there weren't any stragglers. Four of the nine species actually germinated. I'm wondering if the germination rates were affected by the freshness of the seeds. Seeds sown here in my zone 7 growing climate will generally germinate the next spring. I've heard several times that sometimes peony seeds won't send up leaves until the 2nd year, but I've not found that to be true here. They usually sprout the first spring or not at all. Of course I usually let Mother Nature do the sprouting for me. I'm not much of a babier when it comes to plants, so they are most often left to take care of themselves. The 3 species that actually germinated here in 2011 were: Paeonia mascula, Paeonia mlokosewitschii, Paeonia peregrine, and Paeonia tenuifolia. Paeonia tenuifolia did not come back this year for 2012, but the other three did. I'm hoping to get some more seeds from the 2012 APS convention at the end of this month to try again. Hopefully I'll get some other species peony to grow here!!!

Paeonia mascula

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Paeonia peregrine

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012 American Peony Society Bulletin Article

Woo hoo! I've been asked to write an article for the American Peony Society Bulletin's September issue. That is really exciting. I've been an APS member since 2005, and I've thought it might be nice to submit an article to them in the future, but I got asked to write an article about the 2012 American Peony Society Convention. Okay, maybe it's not that big of a deal, but it seems like a big deal to me! I guess I'm just a peony nerd! :) Don't worry, I'll still be publishing up to the minute updates on the convention here, but the bulletin will contain a nice summary with highlights and pictures of the whole thing. Stay tuned more to come... Oh, and if you want to start getting your own copies of The American Peony Society Bulletin, become an APS Member!

Friday, May 18, 2012

2012 Peony 'Feather Top' Best Performer - Week 7

By far my favorite this week has been Peony 'Feather Top'. The blooms on this peony are huge and the variation in petals and color makes this flower a real winner. There's an outer layer of hot pink guard petals topped by yellow tipped petaloids with a crown of hot pink. Peony 'Feather Top' was hybridized by Wild & Son and registered in 1967. It is not currently a Gold Medal winner, but I definitely think it should be considered for it. This peony took a little time to get adjusted to my southern climate, but now it has really taken off in growth and in blooms. This peony definitely deserves a spot in your garden!

Peony 'Feather Top'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Peony 'Feather Top'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 Peony Blooms Very Late - Week 7

This has definitely been one of the longest peony blooms seasons I've ever had. I think the weather really helped or cooperated with the peonies this year. It warmed up rather early in the spring with no late frost and it's been a temperate spring so far. It hasn't really jumped straight from winter into the 90s like it usually does! :) I think the only complaint I have with many of the late season peonies is they seem to have floppy stems so their flowers really need staking! Peony 'Kelway's Glorious' has huge symmetrical white blooms. Peony 'Moonstone' was a real star in my garden this year with beautiful pink flowers that seem resistant to bud blast and bud rot. Peony 'Uncle Tom' has a deep red color that is hard to find. Peony 'Yellow Crown' has so many bright yellow petals that it is a real treasure.
Peony 'Kelway's Glorious'
Peony 'Moonstone'
Peony 'Uncle Tom'
Peony 'Yellow Crown'

Friday, May 11, 2012

2012 American Peony Society Convention Registration

OMG! I am so excited!!! I just booked my trip for the 2012 American Peony Society Convention. So if you're going too, please say hello to me. I'd love to meet you! The excitement is almost overwhelming! I can't wait to see all the beautiful peonies, pick the brains of the hybridizers, chat with the convention attendees, find out which peonies are going to be selected for the Gold Medal and Award of Landscape Merit. And who could forget about the Best in Show? This is going to be awesome! Plus I've never been to Nebraska, and it sounds like they've got some interesting sights for us to check out on the tour - Joslyn Castle and the Sass Memorial Iris and Peony Garden at Lauritzen Gardens in Mahoney State Park. If you've never been before and are interested, you should come. It's definitely a peony lover's vacation! I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012 Peony 'Angel Cheeks' Best Performer - Week 6

Week 6 was another great week in the peony bloom season here in the South! It's been amazing how many peonies have been blooming and the number of blooms. Peony 'Angel Cheeks' was definitely the winner in my garden this week, and the cheeks on this peony were too cute to resist! This peony started blooming on April 22, and still has a few blooms left today, May 9th! The varied form of the double blooms and the variety of colors in each bloom make this plant very attractive. Each bloom is unique in form and color, and it's always a pleasant surprise! Peony 'Angel Cheeks' is also an American Peony Society Gold Medal winner from 2005, and this hard working and beautiful peony really earns its medal!

Peony 'Angel Cheeks'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Peony 'Angel Cheeks'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012 Peony Blooms Late Season - Week 6

Wow, I think this is going to be the best late/very late season I've ever had in my garden. I actually have enough mature varieties to keep the blooms going a bit later this year. That and the weather has been much more cooperative this year. The rain has come only a day at a time, giving the blooms time to dry out after a shower. Peony 'Myra MacRae' has a lovely lavender tint to her pink double blossoms. Peony 'Solange' has a complex coloring with hints white and salmon in a pale pink very full double bloom. Peony 'Vivid Rose' has a nice medium pink shade with casual petals arranged in a symmetrical shape. Peony 'Walter Mains' has hot pink guard petals around central yellow tuft with sometimes small hot pink petaloids in the center. Nice!
Peony 'Myra MacRae'
Peony 'Solange'
Peony 'Vivid Rose'
Peony 'Walter Mains'

Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 Peony 'Bartzella' Best Performer - Week 5

To see the pictures from my favorite individual blooms from week 5, you can find them in my post 2012 Peony Blooms Late Mid - Week 5. My best performing peony plant as a whole was definitely Peony 'Bartzella'. She really outdid herself this year. Every year she has grown in stature, foliage, and blooms. There were so many blooms this year, the plant was laden! The color of the petals is such a bright yellow, and it really stands out in the garden, especially since yellow is a rare color in peonies. The bold yellow blooms are made possible by the plant's tree peony heritage. Peony 'Bartzella' is an intersectional peony, a cross between an herbaceous peony and the tree peony, Paeonia Lutea. Peony 'Bartzella' is also an American Peony Society Gold Medal winner from 2006.

Peony 'Bartzella'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Peony 'Bartzella'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2012 Peony Blooms Late Mid - Week 5

The blooms for week 5 have been awesome. The single and semi-double midseason blooms really shined in my garden this year. Peony 'Bartzella' is always beautiful and quite the showstopper with its bright yellow blooms. Peony 'Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt' always has such a delicate and feminine shape to her blooms, which is complemented by the delicate pink color of her petals. Peony 'Pink Princess' is a tall and proud peony with pale pink blooms that fade to white near the center and have beautiful spots on the petals that are so interesting to the eye. Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara' is the classic southern belle of a peony, with bright red petals surrounding a golden yellow center and pink tipped carpels.
Peony 'Bartzella'
Peony 'Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Peony 'Pink Princess'
Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara'

Friday, May 4, 2012

2012 Peony 'Do Tell' Best Performer - Week 4

If you want to see the pictures from my favorite individual blooms from week 4, you can find them in my post 2012 Peony Blooms Mid Season - Week 4 . As for my favorite overall performer for the bush as a whole for week 4, there is no contest. It is definitely Peony 'Do Tell'. This peony has a multitude of pink blooms with an interesting pink and white center of tiny wavy petals. It almost looks like a hairdo that Ke$ha would wear! The blooms open on different days. So they will usually last for a couple weeks. The plant is a consistent bloomer and grower year after year in this climate, multiplying steadily at a rapid pace. It seems to be very happy here in my southern climate. It definitely earns its 2004 American Peony Society Gold Medal every year in my garden!

Peony 'Do Tell'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Peony Blooms Mid Season - Week 4

The double and bomb type peonies really made their debut this week in the Midseason of the peony bloom season, Week 4. With bright colors and giant blooms how can anyone resist? Peony 'Kansas' did really well this year for me. The hot pink blooms really stood out. Peony 'Many Happy Returns' has such a nice red color and form. Peony 'Red Charm' is an awesome bomb type peony and the most true red you'll find. Peony 'Rose Heart' bloomed for me for the 2nd time this year, and the bloom was so much larger with the characteristic pink heart (center).
Peony 'Kansas'
Peony 'Many Happy Returns'
Peony 'Red Charm'
Peony 'Rose Heart'

2012 Peony Blooms Best Performers - Weeks 1-3

I already posted pictures of my favorite peony blooms from Weeks 1-3 of the peony bloom season in my post 2012 Peony Blooms Very Early to Early Mid - Weeks 1-3. However I thought it might also be beneficial to post some of my favorite overall performers from Weeks 1-3 here in my Southern growing climate. The best two peony bushes overall were Peony 'Seraphim' and Peony 'Honor'. Peony 'Seraphim' is just so lovely and has a multitude of blossoms on tall stems with multiple blooms per stem. The bright white flowers just look so lovely and feminine and the foliage is very sturdy and a nice dark green color. Peony 'Honor' is a plant of much shorter stature, but no less lovely. The dainty pink blossoms are one to a stem, but with a staggered opening, which showcases the beautiful range in color of the petals as they open. The foliage also seems sturdy here, and the green is a bit lighter in color, a nice contrast with the pink blooms.

Peony 'Seraphim'
Southern Peony Best Performer

Peony 'Honor'
Southern Peony Best Performer