Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2015 New Hot Pink Double in Peony Seedling Test Bed

There did turn out to be one interesting peony blooming in my peony seedling bed this year. It was a bomb looking double hot pink peony. My recent experience tells me that the bloom form of a peony seedling may change as the plants matures. So next year the bloom form could be totally double. I have flagged this plant to be moved to my other less crowded peony seedling bed for closer inspection and monitoring. I plan to move this peony in the fall after the foliage has gone dormant so as not to disturb the plant too much.

Hot Pink Bomb Double Peony Seedling

Hot Pink Bomb Double Peony Seedling in Peony Seedling Bed

Some other things I noticed about this peony that interest me are the presence of size buds. There were three buds on one stem, one main bud and two side buds. These side buds opened in succession after the main bud, which extended the plant's bloom period. Also this peony appears to be a late bloomer. Take a look at the photo above, and you can see all the buds opened nicely without any late season sun and heat damage. This is a great feature for late season peonies that are going to be grown in the South since some late season bloomers here sustain damage to the blooms that prevent them from opening fully.

Hot Pink Bomb Double Peony Seedling Still Blooming
After All Other Peony Seedlings Done Blooming

Hot Pink Bomb Double Peony Seedling
Side Buds Still Blooming Late in the Season

The only drawback to this peony I see so far is that the stem was bent in half, and although all of the buds still opened, they were upside down. I'm not sure if the lack of stem strength is due to all of the competition with the other seedlings in my peony seedling bed (my peony seedling bed is quite crowded) or perhaps because it is at the back of the bed near the woods, and it is reaching for the sun. Either way by moving this peony and observing it separately, I will be able to discern its true habit. Hopefully it will stand up when it is on its own. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2015 New Peony Bloom Color Classifications

Intersectional Peony Misaka 美 (Beautiful Blossom) - Smith Opus 1
Day 2
Intersectional Peony Misaka 美 (Beautiful Blossom) - Smith Opus 1
Day 2
I did get a few new peony bloom color classifications this year. I try to classify the bloom colors of my peonies using the RHS Colour Chart each year, and I conglomerate this information on my Colors page. Some of the new peony bloom color classification I got this year were for Peony 'Prairie Moon' - Light Yellow Green 2C, Peony 'Unique' - Dark Purple Red 185B, and Peony 'Lafayette Escadrille' - Purple Red N57A. I also got some new peony bloom classifications for a few peonies that bloomed for the first time for me this year. I wasn't really sure which category they fit into best. So I recorded a choice of two. I will monitor these peonies' blooms again next year to verify the colors on the second year, and make sure I am able to classify them on the first day the bloom opens. The peonies I will monitor the bloom color again on next year are Peony 'New Millennium' - Dark Pink Red 52A or 50B, Peony 'Old Rose Dandy' - Orange Red 39B or 37A, and Peony 'Misaka' - Light Orange 26D or Light Yellow Orange 19B. I am particularly excited about Peony Misaka since no matter which color classification it ends up under, it will represent a brand new color category for my peony garden, a light orange!
Light Orange 26D
Light Yellow Orange 19B

Friday, June 12, 2015

2015 Peony Companion Plants Japanese Iris

Peony Keiko 愛幕 (Adored) and Variegated Japanese Iris

Since planting my Monrovia Itoh Peony 'Keiko'™ 愛幕 (Adored) and the other Japanese named Monrovia Itoh peonies (Misaka 美 (Beautiful Blossom), Takara 慈悲 (Treasure), and Yumi 由美 (Possess Beauty)) in my Japanese garden in 2013, they have grown very nicely. These intersectional peonies make nice companions to the Japanese irises planted nearby and vice versa. The peonies are gorgeous when in bloom, and so are the irises.

Japanese Garden with Japanese Iris and Intersectional Peonies

Even though their bloom seasons do not intersect here, they make nice neighbors. The Japanese irises provide a spiky green backdrop for the large peony blossoms. The intersectional peonies provide a pleasing contrast of large lobed foliage with interesting green seed pods, which are left on the plant for interest after the peony blooms have faded. Since intersectional peonies almost never form seeds inside their seed pods, leaving the pods on the plant for interest will not expend any extra energy from the plant.

Intersectional Peony with Seed Pods and Japanese Iris

Sunday, June 7, 2015

2015 Late Spring Peony Root Order

I finally got my first peony order of the year in yesterday. I was planning to place my order with Solaris Farms. I had been waiting to place my order until now because I had other large expense in previous months like new tires for my car, a trip to the 2015 American Peony Society Convention in Kentucky, etc. Anyway I guess I waited too late in the year because one of the peonies I wanted to order from Solaris Farms was already sold out for 2015, Peony 'Sonoma Velvet Ruby'. I really want to order this peony because the red color is nice, but another reason is because I am looking for a red intersectional whose foliage doesn't get brown spots on it very early in the season. Both of my other red intersectional peonies, Peony 'Scarlet Heaven' and Peony 'Lafayette Escadrille' get the Intersectional Peony Fungal Disease Peony Blotch on them. So I'm hoping Peony 'Sonoma Velvet Ruby' will have different enough genetics that perhaps it won't get this disease.

2015 Peony Order - 3 Intersectional Peonies
Peonies 'First Arrival', 'Sonoma Velvet Ruby', and 'Smith Family Yellow'
from Adelman Peony Gardens

I'm sure it is no surprise that all three of the peonies I ordered this year were intersectional peonies. I ended up placing my peony order this year with Peony Paradise, Adelman Peony Gardens this year. Their prices were a little higher than Solaris Farms for both Peony 'First Arrival' and Peony 'Sonoma Velvet Ruby', 2015 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List. However they did have a peony I've been really wanting called Peony 'Smith's Family Yellow' since 2013. I was hoping they price would drop a bit, but it hasn't yet, and I'm tired of waiting! The other peony I ordered, Peony 'First Arrival', I already have, but it is mislabeled. I ordered it from some other non-peony grower, and I got Peony 'Bartzella' instead! So now I should get the real thing. :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

2015 APS Convention Met Peony Hybridizer Don Smith

One of the most exciting things about the APS Convention this year was having the opportunity to meet Don Smith, the American intersectional peony hybridizer. Speaking with him was like listening to a peony prophet. I felt like I was just trying to absorb as much knowledge as I could in such a short period of time. He was a really nice guy and willing to share the boring (to some, but not to me) details of hybridizing from how he collects, stores, and transports his pollen, to how he puts the pollen on the carpels, to how he labels his peony seed pods, to how he starts all of his seeds indoors. Wow. I was amazed not only by the wealth of hybridizing knowledge and experience this man possesses, but also by his openness and generosity of spirit. I hope to meet him again one day.

Me and American Intersectional Peony Hybridizer Don Smith

I think he was happily surprised to meet me since I grow several of his intersectional peonies and also brought some of them to the APS Convention Exhibition. I even won ribbons for a couple of them, American Peony Society Southern Peony Winners. I won a 2nd place ribbon for a set of three blooms of his Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy' and an Honorable Mention award for a single blooms of his Peony Takara 慈悲 (Treasure) - Smith Opus 2. However I think what amazed him the most and made him most proud was the Court of Honor ribbon I won for a single bloom of his Peony 'Keiko' 愛幕 (Adored) - 'Pink Double Dandy', APS Southern Peony Court of Honor Winner - 'Keiko'. It amazed me too! :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

2015 Peony Companion Plants Amaryllis

Pink Peony with Red Amaryllis

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this early amaryllis and late peony blooming together. The bright pink peony was fading just as the pinky red amaryllis was opening, and they looked so gorgeous together. Amaryllis are usually hardy in growing zones 7-10. So Southern gardeners in particular can delight in naturalizing these bulbs with their peonies. If you're looking for a special bulb with enough size and height to plant between your peonies, take a closer look at Amaryllis. Their form and substance are strong and tall enough to compliment peonies without overpowering them. Also there are so many colors and forms of amaryllis to choose from these days, including reds, pinks, whites, and multicolored as well as single and double flower form varieties.

Red Amaryllis with Green Peony Foliage

Monday, June 1, 2015

2015 APS Convention Peonies in Fiestaware Vases

Fiestaware Vase filled with Peonies

If there was one thing I can't stop thinking about from the American Peony Society Convention, it is the peonies in the Fiestaware vases that decorated the tables at the APS Banquet. Thanks to Mike Miller and his wife who brought their collection of gorgeous Feista Ware vases, all of the same pattern, but in a beautiful range of hues to decorate the tables at the banquet. They did an awesome job dressing up the room, and these Fiestaware vases were one of the first things I noticed as soon as I entered the banquet room. I asked them if the vases were up for auction, and they politely replied no. I guess I will just have to hunt down for one myself. :-)