Saturday, October 31, 2015

2015 Beautiful Fall Peony Foliage Colors

Lime Green Fall Peony Foliage Brightens up the Autumn Garden

This year my garden is filled with the gorgeous colors of fall. Usually you have to drive to the mountains to see fall foliage colors like this. I guess Mother Nature provided just the right temperatures, moisture, and sunlight in our area this year. Not only have the trees been gorgeous, so have the peonies! The depth of color on display is amazing!

If you are looking for peonies with reliable fall foliage color, Peony 'Paul M. Wild' and Peony 'Seashell' have both made my fall foliage list 3 times each. So both of these plants are great for wonderful fall color. Peony 'Paul M. Wild' usually has more red toned fall foliage and Peony 'Seashell' usually has more golden toned fall foliage. Fall also happens to be the best time of year to plant peonies. So add one of these fall beauties to your purchase list if they're not already on there!
Peony 'Paul M. Wild'
Peony 'Gilbert Barthelot'
Peony 'Garden Peace'
Peony 'Nick Shaylor'

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Peony Experiments - Planting Adventitious Roots

Adventitious Roots of Peony 'Grace Root'

This experiment practically created itself. While I was digging a piece of my Peony 'Grace Root' as a donation for the 2015 APS Fall Auction Dig & Ship Peony 'Grace Root', I accidentally severed a few pieces of the roots. Since Peony 'Grace Root' is supposed to have adventitious roots, meaning foliage can develop from blind root pieces, I decided to plant these severed roots to see if any of them would sprout next spring.

Peony 'Grace Root' Roots in the Planting Hole

So I dug a hole for them and planted them a few inches apart. I'm not sure if any of these root pieces are large enough, have enough stored energy, or have the correct piece of root needed to sprout. Actually I'm not sure what the requirements are to get them to sprout, or if there are any requirements. I guess we'll find out next spring.

Peony 'Grace Root' Roots Being Covered with Soil

I covered them with a few inches of soil, watered them in, and put a label in the soil. That way I can find where I planted them - whether they sprout next spring or not. I'm guessing some or all of them could take more than one year to sprout, but I'm not sure. I guess we'll find that out too! Let's hope some of these Peony 'Grace Root' roots sprout! :-)

Peony 'Grace Root' Roots Garden Label

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 Transplant Promising Hot Pink Double Seedling

This year I had another peony of interest to me, a 2015 New Hot Pink Double in Peony Seedling Test Bed. Now that it's fall and a great time of year to plant (and transplant) peonies, it was time for me to dig it up and separate it from the other peony seedlings. I found the peony plant that I'd marked with a white twist tie earlier in the year, and dug it gently out from its neighbors.

Hot Pink Double Peony Seedling Marked with White Twist Tie

Luckily it was on the last row of peony seedlings at the end of its row. So it was a little easier to extract with neighbors on only two sides. This time when digging it out, I didn't accidentally snap any of its roots - like I did when I transplanted my first promising peony seedling last year, 2014 Transplant Lavender Ruffles Peony Seedling. So hopefully that will give it a little easier transition to its new home.
Foliage and Root System of
Hot Pink Double Peony Seedling
Hot Pink Double Peony Seedling

As you can see it had two good size stems this year and lots of baby storage roots starting to form. There were also buds forming for next year's growth. I moved this peony from my original peony seedling bed into my newer peony seedling test bed where I could monitor it more closely and give it a little bit more room to grow. I planted it near my 2015 Lavender Ruffles Peony Seedling, which I'd already cut back for the year since its foliage had already gone dormant. I also cut back the foliage of this peony after moving it to hopefully cut down on its transplant shock and prevent it from diverting energy into keeping alive foliage that would soon be cut off anyway.

Transplanted Hot Pink Double Peony Seedling
Next to Lavender Ruffles Peony Seedling in Seedling Test Bed

Sunday, October 25, 2015

2015 APS Fall Auction Dig & Ship Peony 'Grace Root'

It was so easy for me to dig and ship the peony I donated to the 2015 American Peony Society Fall Auction - 'Grace Root'. All members of the APS can donate to the Fall Auction or even the Spring Convention Auction, if you so choose. However Peony 'Grace Root' made my job especially easy this year since it had grown a whole new plant right beside my original planting of this peony - all on its own! This very early blooming, super bright colored stunner is known to have adventitious roots. Apparently you don't even have to dig and separate these adventitious roots before they decide to create a whole new plant. :-) This baby plant had been growing beside its mother for at least 2-3 springs now. It had already bloomed two years in a row, and it was just the right size to be separated and start out on its own. It was even easy to mail, and it only cost me $8 and change to mail it! It makes me happy to think peonies from my garden will be grown in new places, new states!

Peony 'Grace Root' Child Plant

Friday, October 23, 2015

2015 Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' Arrived

I did get the Peony 'Joanna Marlene from eBay quite quickly. I ordered it on Sunday, October 11th, and it arrived on Thursday, October 15th. I got it planted last Saturday. It was actually a nice size root with several (at least 8 or more) eyes. The root actually looks like it may be an intersectional peony, unlike the Fake Itohs on Ebay - 4 (Not) Intersectional Peonies I purchased last year. I am excited to see how this peony grows in the spring. I will definitely let you all know how it turns out. I may even make a list of reliable and unreliable eBay peony sellers if I can collect enough data. That would definitely be a valuable resource for my fellow peony buyers out there. The more information we all have the better. Hopefully this seller will be on the good sellers list. :-)

Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' Arrived

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 Rock Garden Peonies Do Not Grow Here

Peony Plant Tags Removed from Dead Rock Garden Peonies

Well, after many years of trying, and many dead rock garden peonies that have eventually disintegrated into nothingness, I have concluded that Rock Garden Peonies DO NOT Grow Here. Yes they came from a reputable seller, and yes, there were treated well here - to some of the best spots in my garden. Despite year after year of trying to hang on, they have all finally given up the ghost. Sometimes I got one flower out of them - like their last hurrah before they gave up. The list of the dead and dying goes on - Peony 'Earlybird', Peony 'Elfin Beauty', Peony 'Fairy Princess', Peony 'Lil' Sweetie', Peony 'Little Red Gem', Peony 'Squirt'...

Peony 'Lil' Sweetie'
2009 Bloom
Peony 'Earlybird'
2011 Bloom

Oh, that photo of all those miniature peonies in that cool looking rock garden is just so appealing. However I feel resigned to say that I won't be spending (read: wasting) any more of my hard earned dollars on peonies that do not grow here. However hard to admit, I will be leaving those cute little, diminutive rock garden peonies to all those Northern peony gardeners. The page for their Rock Garden Peonies even says "Recommended to be hardy in USDA Zones 3-7." I am in Zone 7b, and they are not even close to hardy here. They should change it to USDA Zones 3-6 - at least take out Zone 7.

Monday, October 19, 2015

2015 Hybridizing Peony Martha W.

I am very excited about this peony. Supposedly it is not the most beautiful of peonies, but one of the best Mothers. So I am hoping this peony will make lots of beautiful children for me. I planted it in a very good growing spot right next to my house. I received this Peony 'Martha W.' as a gift from a friend of mine. I think this is probably the second peony I have ever gotten that I haven't purchased. However I have become more aware that lots of peony lovers will actually trade peony varieties with their peony friends. It must be nice to have a local peony community. I suppose at least we're both on the East Coast. :-) Peony 'Martha W.' is supposed to be a good plant for breeding intersectional peonies - hybrid peonies that are a cross between herbaceous and tree peonies. I can't wait to try to cross this peony with the tree peonies I do have. I think I may be getting some first time blooms on some of my tree peonies next spring. New pollen to hybridize with!

Friday, October 16, 2015

2015 Move Single White Peonies to Front of House

Mass Planting of Peony 'Krinkled White'
in Don C. Smith's Garden

I was really inspired by the mass of single, white Peony 'Krinkled White' blooms at Don Smith's house on the 2015 American Peony Society Convention garden tour. (I think we all were!) So as part of my 2015 Southern Peony Big Dig, I have planted 5 single white peonies in front of my house. This was not a single day in the making. I have been working on this project for months. I should have taken some before pictures, but I had these massive - almost as tall as me - bushes eating up my front walkway. They were growing over the sidewalk every year, and had to be given a buzz cut to keep them in check. My stepfather came over one day in July and cut them all down - all 5 of those monsters. As you can see they were so big, they were blocking the sun for my three Dwarf Alberta Spruce trees. I probably should have cut those bushes down a couple years ago. I'm hoping the dwarf spruces will recover well, and perhaps some of the other new landscaping will help fill in the gaps!

Front of House - Monster Bushes Cut Down,
New Landscaping, New Mulch, Holes Dug for Peonies

I spent a couple more days digging out the stumps and roots of those bushes. I decided I wanted a silver and white theme, and I added a dash of lavender too. So in August I planted some Powis Castle artemisias, Buzz Ivory butterfly bushes, and Russian sage. I also planted some Joan Senior and Sunday Gloves daylilies. In September I got a dump truck of mulch delivered and added a nice layer of new mulch. Things were improving, but there was still one thing missing - my hedge of single white peonies! So now in October, I have planted 5 single, white peonies - divisions of the most floriferous, single, white peony I have ever grown, 2013 Peony Single White Best Performer - Week 3. It was a plant that was sold to me as Peony 'Seraphim', but obviously mislabeled. I think it must be Peony 'Krinkled White', the same peony Don has planted in his garden. I thought before that it wasn't 'Krinkled White' since Gilbert Wild had it listed as mid-late season bloomer. However several other sources state that Peony 'Krinkled White' is an early season bloomer. Now I just can't wait until spring to see these peonies bloom. I'm sure it will take a couple more years before my peonies become a mass of color like Don's, but I will enjoy them all along as they grow. :-)

Single White Peonies Waiting to be Planted

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015 Southern Peony Big Dig - Part Shade to Full Sun

This fall my Southern Peonies are moving - well, not all of them, but quite a few of them. Many of these beauties are or were planted near the perimeter of my yard, which is lined with forest on three sides. There is also a giant oak tree in my back yard, that has grown from a cute, shorter than me, don't cut that hardwood tree down INTO a taller than my 2 story house, eating all of my sun, three trunked monster in just 13 years.

Happy Peonies (Foreground, Left)
Unhappy Peonies (Background, Right)

I have already moved lots of peonies this past weekend, and I plan to move many more in the coming weeks. I moved Peonies 'Command Performance', 'Dinner Plate', 'Lorelei', 'Pink Parfait', and 'Vivid Rose' from the perimeter of the woods to the center of my original peony garden - first planted in 2003 - a much sunnier locale. I have also moved two Peony 'Muskoka's? to right beside of my deck. These red and yellow anemone style peonies are obviously misnamed, but they are gorgeous and very floriferous. I think they might be Peony 'Nippon Beauty'. They were growing under hot pink crepe myrtle bushes that have now matured into trees. They went from 25+ blooms each to now only a couple blooms each. I'm sure they will be much happier near my deck. So basically the moral of this story is - plant your peonies in the middle of your yard, the sunniest spot, with the best moisture, not the edge (unless the edge has no trees!) :-) Happy Peony Planting!

Peony 'Vivid Rose' Getting Moved

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 Peony Experiment - Planting 2 Year Old Root

Label of Peony Root Box with Postmark 10/22/2013

So this wasn't really an intentional experiment, more like an accidental experiment... I apparently purchased this peony root, Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix', with the best of intentions in the APS Convention Auction. However little did I know that by the time the root arrived I would be experiencing morning sickness that not only caused me to cancel my Fall Harvest party that year, but also kept these peonies in their box in my garage waiting to be planted for two years! This box has been sitting there and sitting there and sitting there, and after a while I kept debating in my head whether to trash the box or open it. It has been sitting there so long I kind of forgot how long it had been there. I was thinking it had only been one year, but then I looked at the date on the box 10/22/2013 - almost two years to the day! Well, I decided to open it and see what was in there.
Peony Root Box
from 2 Years Ago
Opening Peony Root Box
from 2 Years Ago

Wow, I must tell you that Oregon Perennial did a spectacular job of packing this peony. I expected it to be either covered in mold or completely disintegrated, or both! However it was neither! The box contained a beautiful peony root inside a plastic bag filled with peat moss. It almost seemed as if it was shipped this year! It has started to grow a few small, white feeder roots and the buds were perfectly visible, not even sprouted one bit. It seems to have survived in a happy semi-dormant state in this box in my garage for two years so far.

2 Year Old Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' Root
in a Bag of Peat Moss Inside of the Box

2 Year Old Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' Root

So I planted it, and hence this experiment. I am a little afraid it might wake up in our warm, sunny fall and start to grow, only to be killed by the first frost. However I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best that it survives (and hopefully stays dormant until spring)! I'll let you know how this "experiment" turns out... ;-)

Planting 2 Year Old Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' Root

Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 APS Fall Auction Peony Winnings

Even though I've been an APS Member for years, I have never actually bid in the APS Fall Auction. I have donated peonies to the APS Fall Auction to be auctioned off to benefit the APS, like this year's donation to the 2015 American Peony Society Fall Auction - Grace Root. So this year I decided to bid on a few peonies too! Especially since they had the 2015 American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner - 'Mahoghany' in the auction, which is also the Peony of the Year for 2016. I was especially happy to see this one in the auction since I didn't find any commercial growers that were offering it for sale this year. (I'm sure there will be many of them offering it next year, though!) I put in bids on four peonies in the auction, and I won two - Peony 'Mahogany' and Peony 'Roselette'. Not too bad for my first attempt. :-)

2015 APS Auction Win - Peony 'Mahogany'

I have never grown Peony 'Mahogany' before, and I am looking forward to seeing how this APS Gold Medal Winner performs here. I especially like this peony because of the lighter colored flares in the center of the petals. I have grown Peony 'Roselette' here before. It took several years to start to become established. Once it was starting to grow well, I mistakenly killed it with herbicide overspray. This was the year when my Saunders peony garden did not have enough mulch, and the weeds were literally taking over that bed. Now the bed has a nice layer of mulch on it, and the peonies are doing well there. So hopefully this Peony 'Roselette' will find a nice home here!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

2015 Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' on Ebay

I just couldn't not buy it! Isn't this flower just gorgeous? I know, I know. I just had a bad experience buying peonies - those Fake Itohs on Ebay - 4 (Not) Intersectional Peonies, but this one was just calling my name. Plus after checking my 2015 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List it is $15 cheaper than any other seller is offering to sell this peony for this year. Plus I had $22.01 in Ebay Bucks that were just burning a hole in my pocket. So after everything was said and done, I got this intersectional peony shipped to my door for about $47, and it's already on the way!

Intersectional Peony 'Joanna Marlene' on Ebay

Also I did check out the seller, 'Garden Breeze Hostas' on Garden Watchdog. They only have 10 ratings, but they're all positive. One of the ratings is even for a Peony 'Bartzella'! Their ratings are all old, I guess because it looks like they no longer sell on their own website. However they do still sell on Ebay, apparently. Both the garden*breeze seller on Ebay and the 'Garden Breeze Hostas' on Garden Watchdog say they are in Mount Tabor, New Jersey. So it looks to be the same seller. Hopefully this time, I'll get what I pay for (especially since this one's more expensive)!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 Southern Peony Giveaway - Itoh Peony 'Bartzella'

Southern Peony Giveaway - Peony 'Bartzella'

This month, October 2015, Southern Peony is giving away a peony to one of its email subscribers to celebrate 100,000 pageviews. So if you enjoy reading about peonies, please join us! We are giving away an intersectional Itoh peony, Peony 'Bartzella'. Peony 'Bartzella' is an American Peony Society award winning peony. It has won both their Gold Medal in 2006 and their Award of Landscape Merit in 2009. Peony 'Bartzella' is also a Southern Peony Best Performer. So you know it will grow well in your garden! Intersectional peonies are a cross between a tree peony and an herbaceous peony. If you don't yet have an intersectional peony in your garden, once you get one, it won't be your last. They are easy to get addicted to! Peony 'Bartzella' is one of the most outstanding examples of an intersectional peony. Yellow is a rare color in herbaceous peonies. So this superb hybrid makes an easy to grow yellow addition to your peony garden. :)

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 American Peony Society Fall Auction - 'Grace Root'

This year I am making another donation to the American Peony Society for their 2015 APS Online Fall Auction. Two years ago, I donated two peony plants to benefit the 2013 American Peony Society Fall Auction. Even though I am not a commercial grower, I will still try to donate something to the auction this year. So this year I am donating Peony 'Grace Root'. This peony is a terrific grower here in my Southern garden. So if you are looking for a plant that will do well in a more Southern region of the country, this is one peony I would definitely recommend. Plus it blooms very early and is an A. P. Saunders hybrid. So if you'd like the chance to bid on this gorgeous peony, the bidding is going on this weekend, October 10-11th. The APS Fall Auction is for APS Members only. So if you're not yet an APS Member, now's a great time to join! :-)

Southern Peony 2015 APS Fall Auction Donation
Peony 'Grace Root'

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015 Southern Peony Reaches 100,000 Pageviews!

Wow! I can't believe it. Southern Peony reaches 100,00 pageviews! It seems like only yesterday I was posting about our first 20,000 pageviews in Southern Peony Milestones & Popular Topics. The Southern Peony site is successful because of all of you, and I am very grateful for each one of my readers - that's YOU! So to celebrate this milestone, Southern Peony is hosting a giveaway! The only thing you need to do to sign up for the giveaway is join us! If you enjoy reading about peonies, and would like to receive Southern Peony delivered right to your email address, please sign up "Subscribe via email" box on the left side of the page. All members of our email subscriber list as of October 31, 2015 are eligible for the giveaway. More details about the giveaway to come in the next post!

Southern Peony Celebrates 100,000 Pageviews