Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Soaking Peony Seeds

I knew these little bowls would come in handy when I bought them at Ross a while ago. I haven't used them until now, but I think I've found a pretty good use for them. Now I wish I had bought more! I have 15 different varieties of Chinese Tree Peony Seeds that I need to soak, and I want to keep them separate while I'm soaking the seeds so that I can keep track of the peony variety. These mini bowls are the perfect size, and the colors are so bright, they just cheer me up. (Which is good since with the cold late winter / early spring we've been having, none of my peonies have bloomed yet!) I usually soak my peony seeds overnight to let them soften up a little and absorb some of the water. I ordered 100 of these Chinese tree peony seeds, about 7 of each of the 15 different varieties. They ended up sending me about 8 seeds of each of the varieties. That was nice of them to send a few extra seeds. Hopefully that will increase the chance of getting some of the seeds to successfully germinate! After these peony seeds soak for a day, then I will plant them out into my seedling test bed and let Mother Nature take over!

Soaking Peony Seeds

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 American Peony Society Medal on Etsy

I finally got a protective case a couple of weeks ago for the American Peony Society Silver Medal I found on Etsy. Wow, what a great find! It looks really nice in its case. I'm planning to bring it to the 2013 American Peony Society convention with me this year. So if you'd like to see it, and also be in the company of lots of other peony enthusiasts, please come join us at the 2013 American Peony Society Convention at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA in this year. This particular APS Medal was issued to Marvin Karrels in 1975. This medal is older than me! :-) It would be nice to earn one of these one day. It might be kind of funny to be a Mr. Peony, though. I wonder if they've ever issued a Mrs. Peony! LOL!

American Peony Society Silver Medal Front
Medal Reads:

American Peony Society Silver Medal Back
Medal Inscription Reads:
Master Showman
Gentleman Deluxe


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions

I am happy to report that 5 of the 6 Peony 'Bartzella' root divisions that I planted last fall, in the 2012 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions, have come up! Even one of the divisions with no roots sprouted. I didn't apply any rooting hormone or fertilizer, and I gave them very little supplemental water. Mother Nature did her thing! Some of the peony divisions even have multiple stems sprouting from the base! The only one that didn't sprout at all was the division that had no roots and the stem was old wood. The other division that had no roots came up, and that one had new wood. So it seems that the intersectional peony divisions can generate roots when there aren't any, if the division is a new stem. So get out there and start dividing your peonies! Fill up your yard, and then fill up your friends and neighbors yards too! :-) Share the love!
Peony 'Bartzella' Division
with Small Roots Sprouting
Peony 'Bartzella' Division
with Tiny Roots Sprouting
Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Sprouting (New Wood)
Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Not Sprouting (Old Wood)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2013 Ali Express Chinese Tree Peony Seeds

I got the Tree Peony Seeds from China a couple weeks ago that I ordered from Ali Express, but I finally got them all translated and labels made for them today. It certainly helps to have a Chinese husband who can read the characters and translate them for me, since they didn't come with any English names. I ended up getting 7 seeds of each of 15 different varieties. Here are the names in English of the Chinese tree peonies that I received: Black Bouquet, Black Sea Scattered Gold, Blue Field Jade, Champion Dark Jade, Colorful Bell, Dark Black Purple, Entangled Golden Jade, Green Fragrant Ball, Fledgling, Golden Attic, Red Clouds in Hundred Garden, Red Guardian, Smoky Dragon's Purple Jewelry Plate, Splendid Dark Gold, and Wei Purple. Now I just need to soak them and get them planted! I'm guessing that most of these will not germinate this year since it is already spring here now. So I guess I'll be waiting until next spring to see if any of them sprout. My husband said that Wei Purple is supposed to be named for a famous family in China, and he said he couldn't wait to see what that one looked like. I can't wait either since purple is my favorite color! :)

Chinese Tree Peony Seeds from Ali Express

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2013 Spring Peony Catalogs

I was sad to receive an email this year saying that Klehm's Song Sparrow will no longer be publishing a print catalog. The internet, that I love and with which I publish this blog, has created a different & cheaper way of communicating with customers. It is with great sorrow that I let go of these printed catalogs that I could read at my leisure, without having to pay an electricity bill to view them! I hope all of the other peony catalogs do not go this way. The only catalogs I've received this year were from Adelman Peony Gardens, Gilbert H. Wild, and Homestead Farms. Also I just received my American Peony Society bulletin last week, and in it there was a letter stating that Hollingsworth Peonies was sold and they will no longer be mailing a print catalog either. It seems they will only be publishing their catalog online now too. How sad. I hope the nursery continues to offer great peonies as it has in the past. I have gotten some great peonies and some great advice from Hollingsworth Peonies.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 Peony Experiments - Peony Seeds in Bags

After ordering some Peony Seeds from Hirt's Gardens, I decided to grow the seeds in plastic bags based on some interesting instructions the seeds came with. I've never grown any peony seeds in bags before. So I decided to give it a try to see what would happen, whether they would sprout, and what the germination rates would be following this method. It has been three weeks now, and as you can see, there are no peony seeds sprouting in any of my plastic bags. In fact the only thing sprouting in my plastic bags is mold. As you can see in the second picture below, the two P. ludlowii seeds are both covered in mold. The rest of the bags appear to be mold free, but they are also root free as well. I am still going to plant these seeds in the ground, and hopefully some of them will still sprout anyway. For me this method did not work. I'd be curious to know if anyone else has been successful with this method, and if they have any tips. Sometime I think keeping things simple is the best way, let Mother Nature work her magic...

Peony Seeds in Bags with Moist Vermiculite

Mold Growing on Peony Seeds in Bag

Friday, March 15, 2013

2013 Half Price Peony at Local Nursery

Wow! Did I get lucky! I went to get my oil changed this week, and I always take my car to a place that's near one of my favorite local nurseries. I usually walk over there to check to see what they have on sale while my car is being worked on. Well yesterday when I went there I found a Peony 'Coral Sunset' that had an orange sale sticker on it, and all of their sale items were 50% off. The original price was $24.99. So that made it only $12.50! Yes, I already have Peony 'Coral Sunset', but who could resist another one for 50% off? So of course I bought it, and I got it planted today. So keep your eyes open when shopping at your local nurseries. They may have some peonies from last year's stock on sale! Since this Peony 'Coral Sunset' was growing in a pot, I actually planted it more shallow in the ground than it was growing in the pot, as evidenced by the whitish color at the base of the stems. This portion of the stem was previously under the soil when it was growing in the pot, but due to our climate here, I knocked off a bit of the soil from the top of the peony root, and planted the roots close to the surface. This way the peony roots will get the chilling hours required to generate bloom here.

Half Price Potted Peony 'Coral Sunset'

Planted Peony 'Coral Sunset'

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2013 Springtime Peonies are Coming!

Wow, I go away for 10 days, and when I come back, the peonies are sprouting! I guess spring must be coming soon now. The peonies think it is already time. I took these pictures today. The coral peonies always seem to be the first ones to sprout foliage, even though they are not the first ones to bloom. Some of the coral peony shoots are already 6 inches high! Bloom season will be here before you know it. It will be another busy season keeping track of the Bloom Dates, determining Bloom Color, collecting more data, and most of all enjoying the sights and smells of all the beautiful peonies. I'm hoping to see some new varieties bloom for the first time this year as well. It is always exciting to meet a new flower in your own garden! I hope all of you have an awesome bloom season this year too, and perhaps are lucky enough to meet some new peonies in your garden too! :-)

Peony 'Coral Charm' Shoots

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2013 Questions - Container Grown Peony Plants

I received this question from Karen in Zone 8:
"I've seen several container grown peony plants for sale in nurseries here in the spring. Is this advisable to purchase a plant rather than bulbs. If buying the plant is okay, should I grow it in the same container over the summer and then plant in the ground in the fall? I'm leery of planting a peony plant here in April as it normally has gotten quite warm by then and think the stress of summer wouldn't be good for it."

The question of whether to purchase a plant or a bulb is answered in the previous post 2013 Questions - Purchasing Peony Plants Versus Roots. As for the question of when to plant the container peony, that depends on how well you take care of your container plants. If you are like me, and you take care of your container plants when you have time, I would recommend planting your peony in the ground as soon as you buy it. However perhaps you are very meticulous and experienced container gardener, and you tend to your containers better than your garden. Then I would say that it would be fine to wait until fall to plant your peony in the ground.

Pink Single Peony in Pot on Deck

However I would not recommend growing your peony in the container permanently. I myself purchased a peony in a nice container years ago, thinking perhaps that it would be nice to have a peony blooming on my deck every year. Even with special care (peonies are my favorite flower after all), it continued to decline each year until it died. I'm quite sure that the peonies for sale in beautiful containers each spring are not grown to blooming size that way. They are most likely grown in super ideal conditions in the ground until they are full of buds and then stuffed into a beautiful pot, which may look nice on the outside, but it makes a sad home for a peony! Peonies actually grow very large roots underground which are needed to fuel those huge blossoms each spring. Zone 8 is actually a good zone for growing peonies. I would just make sure to plant the peony crown and eyes even with the soil level. You may want to check out my post 2012 How to Plant an Herbaceous Peony for pointers! Good luck!!!