Friday, March 29, 2019

2019 First Peony Bloom of the Season!

Yay! It's finally here! I have been anticipating this moment for quite some time, and now it is here. I thought I'd be ready this year, but for some reason I am already feeling behind. I have a large load of free mulch sitting in my driveway (which I am very thankful for), and I have a new job I just started 2 weeks ago (which I am also very thankful for), and now it is peony season (which I am also very, very thankful for). Let's just say there's a lot going on right now... I guess that's how it usually goes, though. Feast or famine. The trick is not to eat too much at the feast, I guess. (And maybe save a little for the famine...)

First Bloom of the Season
Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'

Anyway, Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' was the first peony to bloom in my garden this year, pretty much the same as last year. Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' and a dwarf red fernleaf hybrid both bloomed together on the first day of the season last year on April 2nd. So it looks like our peony season is starting just a couple days earlier this year. I don't think I saw any blooms open on the red fernleaf hybrid yet this year. Tree Peony 'Yao Huang' ('Yao's Yellow') bloomed the day after Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' last year. Tree Peony 'Yao Huang' looks like it is about to pop open. So let's see if it blooms 2nd again this year.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

2019 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Intersectional Peony Update

Fake Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'

Remember that 2018 Tulip World Offers Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' for $12.95!? Well maybe I should have known better, but I couldn't resist. It has started growing here already, and unfortunately it is not the correct variety. I can tell already because it has herbaceous peony foliage instead of intersectional peony foliage. Another reader in Georgia who purchased these as well reported the same information - herbaceous foliage. It is quite disappointing because I was hoping these were correct since no one else seems to be offering this peony for sale. I didn't find it at any APS Commercial Growers this year. So it wasn't on my 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List.

Fake Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Foliage

I know I shouldn't be that upset about it since they were only $13, but I don't see any other opportunity to acquire this plant right now. I'd like to add Tulip World to a list of growers selling fake peonies, kind of like my 2018 Ebay Peony Seller Reviews. I don't have a list like that right now, but perhaps if I collect enough of these "mislabeled" varieties from suspect growers, then perhaps I'll start another list of this nature. I wish I had better news for all of you, but I guess the hunt is still on. Let me know if anyone finds a more reputable source for this peony variety. I'd still love to own it (and see how it grows here)!

Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Sign

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

2019 Questions - Intersectional Peonies How to Cut Back Stems with Buds

Intersectional Peonies with Above Ground Buds

I received this question from Joy in zone 8a:

"First and foremost, thank you for having a most informative website on one of my most loved flowering plants."

"I am writing to you today, as I’m just now getting out into the garden and tidying up my peonies, which I usually cut them back in the fall. I noticed that my Itoh Peony Julia Rose (I have 2 and planted them in 2012) have developed eyes on last years dead stems and as normal, eyes also stemming from the ground. I’ve never seen this before and thought perhaps that it was a result of not cutting them back in the fall. I’m not sure how to proceed with spring clean up and thought to seek your most valuable advice."

"Thank you for your time and look forward to your guidance."

Intersectional Peonies with Above Ground Buds

Actually intersectional (also called Itoh) peonies can grow and bloom from woody stems grown in previous years (especially in our warmer Southern climates). I actually did an experiment to see what would happen with those stems, 2011 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Blooms. So when you are cleaning up your intersectional peonies that have woody stems in place, be sure to keep those stems where you can visibly see a red growth bud at the top. Then just pick off any old leaves or foliage from that stem. For all of the other stems, cut them back to the first red growth bud that you see. You can make the cut a little above the growth bud, leaving an inch or a half inch or so.

I usually wait to cut back my intersectional peonies later than the rest of my peonies, usually late winter (sometimes early spring if I'm really behind). It is possible that some of those above ground stems could get killed over the winter and some may not. By waiting to cut them back later in the winter season, you'll then know which ones will grow and which ones were killed. That way you can cut back any that didn't make it. If I do happen to cut my intersectional peonies back early (in late fall), then I generally leave all stems with buds on them, cutting them back to the first pink bud. Sometimes they don't all make it through the winter, though.

I hope you enjoy your 'Julia Rose' Intersectional Peonies this spring! Take Care and Happy Growing!

Intersectional Peonies with Above Ground Buds

Monday, March 11, 2019

2019 Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Snapped Off!

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Stem Missing

Oh my! Imagine my surprise yesterday when I went to check on my tree peonies, and I discovered that my favorite tree peony, Tree Peony 'Angel Emily', had been snapped off! And not just in one place, but in three places! All three of those young branches had a bud and would have later had a bloom on them, but alas my tree peony will be at least 3 blooms lighter this spring! I'm not sure what did it, but I'm guessing it was the deer. Not only did they snap it off, they didn't even bother to even eat the tender shoots, they just left them there lying on the ground as evidence.

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Evidence aka Broken Shoots

I was planning to put some hair out anyway since my daughter had recently cleaned her brush for me. So now I knew just what I was going to protect with it. The funny thing is none of the other tree peonies in my garden had been "sheared", not even the Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill', which sits right next to Tree Peony 'Angel Emily', which has even bigger buds on it than 'Angel Emily' right now. (I may actually get to see a bloom on that Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill' this year. Every other year the cold has killed the buds, 2018 Cold Damage Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'. Keep your fingers crossed for me!) Also the deer had never bothered this peony or any in this area before (close to the road), so I hadn't bothered to protect it previously. I guess now I know...

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Three Stems Broken Off

If you have a slight problem with deer, then this trick has usually worked pretty well for me. I'm guessing if you have several herds that visit your yard frequently it may not help, but if you only get occasional visitors, this seems to work for me. Just take a small bit of hair from your hairbrushes or combs and put it around any buds you'd really like to protect. I have never had a deer mess with a bud with hair on it (so far). My grandmother used to collect hair from beauty shops and put it in old stockings to hang up in her garden, which is where I got the idea from. It has helped me keep the deer off several things they like to eat like oriental lilies, rose bushes, hydrangeas, etc.

Human Hair on Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'

I tried to cover at least a few buds on almost all of my tree peonies. So hopefully they won't get any more ideas about trying to munch on (or play with) my tree peony buds. Good thing they don't eat herbaceous peonies!!! Since I had a few broken tree peony stems with buds on them, I decided to open one up to see what an immature bud looks like during development. All of the petals are green. I guess they get their beautiful colorings later as they mature/age. Even the anthers are a bit yellowish green as well. Oh well, I guess that was neat to see. I never would have ruined a bud to look at that otherwise...

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Immature Bud Opened Up

Sunday, March 3, 2019

2019 The Corals are Coming! Peonies That Is

Coral Peonies Popping Up

It's that time. The foliage on my coral herbaceous peonies always starts to appear earlier than any of my other herbaceous peonies. (That doesn't mean they will bloom first, though.) It is already up several inches. Pictured here (from left to right) are Peony 'Coral Sunset', Peony 'Coral Charm', and Peony 'Tropicana'. It looks like Peony 'Tropicana' is winning the race this year. It is definitely the tallest peony in the garden so far. Peony 'Coral Charm' is usually the tallest one. I'm wondering if the extra mulch I added around it might have slowed it down this year. I can't wait for the all of my peonies to start blooming! The first ones are always the sweetest.

We have a few nights of sub-freezing temperatures coming up this week. So I'm glad most of my peonies are still below ground. It's going to be in the 20s overnight for at least 3 nights this week, it looks like (starting tomorrow night!). I'm not sure if I will try protecting this this time or not. While I try to wait out these last few days (or weeks - we'll see!) of winter weather, I can still dream about the gorgeous blooms to come! Here's a few photos of these three coral beauties taken last year so we can all start dreaming of our springtime peony blooms now...! Happy Dreaming!

Peony 'Coral Sunset'

Peony 'Coral Charm'

Peony 'Tropicana'