Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Cheap Versus Expensive Tree Peonies

I guess time and again, when it comes to peonies, just about like everything else, you get what you pay for. I was pleased when I received my first official tree peony order from Tree Peony Garden, a peony grower in the US who focuses mainly on tree peonies. Not only were these tree peonies much more expensive, they were much, much larger and fresher than the cheaper Tree Peonies from China I purchased through Ali Express. The tree peonies I ordered from Tree Peony Garden are 'High Noon', 'Kamatafuji', and 'Li Yuan Chun 李园春'. Peony 'High Noon' is an American tree peony cultivar and an APS Gold Medal Winner in 1989, while Peony 'Kamatafuji' is a Japanese tree peony cultivar, and 'Li Yuan Chun 李园春' is a Chinese tree peony cultivar. While I ordered 2 year old tree peony plants for all three of these cultivars, it looks like they sent me a much larger and older specimen of the center one in the photo (Peony 'Li Yuan Chun 李园春'). Perhaps they ran out of 2 year old tree peonies in this variety. It was so huge I was tempted to split it in half, with three large branches and lots of roots! However I decided to let it grow as it, hoping to get a nice blossom from it in the spring. :-) I am looking forward to growing all three of these tree peonies which represent different cultures and regions of important tree peony growers and climates from different parts of the world.

Tree Peony Roots from Tree Peony Garden

Sunday, October 20, 2013

2013 Song Sparrow Fall Peony Sale - Buy 2 Get One Free

They are at it again! I don't know of any other peony farm who reliably discounts their peonies in the fall (and who also sends large, correctly labeled plants) besides Klehm's Song Sparrow. Last year they ran a similar Fall Sale. I am on the email lists for several other major growers, and Song Sparrow definitely is the best at offering fall discounts. Their prices are not cheap, but they are not exorbitant either, and their current sale makes their offerings all the more attractive! I received the sale email on Friday, October 18th and the sale runs through November 3rd. They are currently offering Receive three Peonies for the price of two. So if you haven't yet gotten your fall 2013 peony order in, head on over to see if the varieties you're interested are still in stock. With this sale, I'm sure the hottest and award winning varieties will be selling out quick! :-)

Song Sparrow Fall Peony Sale - Buy 2 Get One Free

Friday, October 18, 2013

2013 APS Peony Donation to JC Raulston Arboretum

I finally had a chance to dig up peonies in my yard for donation this past weekend. This box of peonies went for a ride to my local arboretum. Through a joint project I've been working on with the American Peony Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum, I was able to gather over 40 peonies for donation to a local public garden. I personally donated 9 of the peony varieties myself. I guess you could say I had a slight incentive in being able to drop them off instead of having to pay the shipping costs to send them through the mail. The peony varieties I donated were: 'Angel Cheeks', 'Bowl of Cream', 'Chalice', 'Coral Charm', 'Do Tell', 'Festiva Maxima', 'Honor', 'Mother's Choice', and 'Seashell'.

Peony Donation for the JC Raulston Arboretum

There were several other donors to the project who I am very thankful for that helped make this project a great success: Adelman Peony Gardens, Hollingsworth Peonies, Rarity Gardens, Song Sparrow, and a local garden nursery, Homewood Nursery. I also wrote an APS Bulletin article about this project, which I will publish here when the bulletin comes out. I'll also be keeping a close eye on the peonies at the arboretum, and I'll definitely posts updates on their progress. I was so happy to work on this Public Gardens Peony Donation Project, and I can't wait to find the next public garden or arboretum in need of a large peony donation! If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment or contact me. :-)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2013 Planting Chinese Tree Peonies

Chinese Tree Peonies Soaking in Water

After soaking the Chinese Tree Peonies from Ali Express, some of them started to look promising. As you can see below on the tree peonies with long stems and short roots, after soaking them in water I started to notice some white or light colored nodules on the sides of the tree peony stems. These may turn into growth nodules, from which roots or stems may be generated in the spring. Also I figured out which tree peonies these are supposed to be. The one tree peony with a short stem and long roots is supposed to be the blue tree peony I ordered. The other 5 tree peonies with long stems and short roots were 2 yellow/orange tree peonies and the other 3 were the ones that were supposed to be the Ali Express Chinese Tree Peonies $5.52 for 3!. I had ordered 3 sets of 3 of these peonies. So I should have gotten 9 of those tree peonies, but they only sent 3. So I opened a dispute with Ali Express for that particular order.

Blue Chinese Tree Peony with Short Stem and Long Root

Chinese Tree Peony with Long Stem and Short Root

Chinese Tree Peony with Long Stem and Short Root

After soaking the Chinese Tree Peonies in a bucket of water for a couple of days, I finally got them all planted Wednesday morning. I planted the tree peony with the short stem and the long root pretty much even with the soil. The other tree peonies with the long stems and shorter roots, I planted about 4-5 inches below the soil, which left about 2 inches of the stem above ground. The majority of the tree peony stems were planted below ground, in hopes they would generate their own roots, just in case the tree peony stems are grafted to herbaceous peony root stock. Now I am feeling a little more hopeful that these Chinese tree peonies will grow in the spring! I'll let you know... :-)

Planted Chinese Tree Peonies from Ali Express

Saturday, October 12, 2013

2013 Dormant or Dead? Chinese Tree Peonies

Well, I received some of the Chinese tree peonies I ordered this week. I'm not sure which plants they are or which vendor they came from. None of the plants are labeled, and they all came with their roots wrapped in plastic wrap. I actually placed 7 different orders with 7 different vendors. I figured this way I was hoping to find at least a good vendor or two. I received 2 boxes from China in the mail this week, and I did in fact receive tree peony roots. One box came with a 10 inch root in it, and most of the top stem had been trimmed away, leaving only about 1/2 inch of stem. The other box came with 5 tree peonies in it with longer 6-7 inch stems, but shorter roots that had been trimmed to 3-4 inches. I'm curious to see if any of these will grow. This was not a very expensive experiment, but definitely a curious one. I plant to soak these roots all day today, and probably plant them out tomorrow. I am really curious to see if the tree peonies with longer stems or the tree peonies with longer roots are able to survive. I will definitely keep you posted on whether any of these tree peonies actually sprout in the spring!

Chinese Tree Peonies with Long Stems and Short Roots

Chinese Tree Peony with Short Stem and Long Root

Monday, October 7, 2013

2013 Sharing Peony Roots at the Fall Plant Swap

I went to the fall Carolina Plant Swap this weekend. I brought 3 peony divisions with me this year to trade. These were nice, large divisions of a medium pink colored herbaceous peony with nice foliage. Hopefully they will each produce flowers next year in their new homes! I made these divisions from an herbaceous peony that was previously growing in my peony moon garden (which I recently cleared out to make room for my New Tree Peony Moon Garden). Since I love peonies so much, I can't help but want to try to encourage all gardeners to grow peonies. Once they find out how nice they are (and easy to grow), I'm sure they'll be hooked too! Let's hope I can donate even more to next year's plant swap! :-)