Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 Live Plants - Peonies!

Wow! Guess what I got in the mail today. Live Plants! The order from one of the vendors came really fast. I guess I'll be planting peonies this weekend. I'm so excited. I can't believe how quickly the first order arrived. I just placed the order 2 weeks ago! I was able to get some fresh top soil put out to expand the peony seedling bed today. So I'll be planting seeds from the APS convention soon. Now I need to finish creating the garden labels for the plants. I just printed the labels for the peony variety names. Next I'll need to print labels for the seedlings. It is still raining here. Hopefully it will let up soon in time to plant peonies and peony seeds this weekend.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Peonies in the Rain

Wow! It's raining. September was shaping up to be the driest on record because we'd had little to no rain all month. I think the official measurement is 0.13 inches for the month. It looks like we've had 0.80 inches so far today, and it's still raining. I hope this helps the peonies. I don't really know what this drought is going to do to next year's blooms. Next spring the bud and stem counts are likely to be lower than they would have been. I was also hoping to plant peony seeds, but have delayed that since it has been so dry. Maybe now we'll be getting a steady supply of rain, and the seeds would actually sprout instead of dry up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 Fall Peony Orders

It's that time again, and I've waited a bit late this year. I'm sure I've missed some choice selections from some vendors. So I'm putting in my fall peony orders today. Here's a sampling of some of the varieties I'm ordering this year. I'm replacing Peony 'Athena' since the first one I had died out after a couple years. I'm going to pay a little closer attention to this one to see how well it grows in our climate. Peony 'Goldilocks' and Peony 'Etched Salmon' are both new to me and have both been on my 'Want' list for a while now. Peony 'Pink Derby' is also new to me. This one, though, I saw for the first time this year at the 2010 American Peony Society Convention in Janesville, Wisconsin. It was entered in several of the competitions, and it was just such an eye catching variety. I just had to have it! I'm also ordering a couple peonies for my Saunders' peony garden. I have a collection of peonies from Professor A. P. Saunders. I guess I'm partial to his hybrids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Peony Weeds

Well, it has been quite a wet summer since our dry spell at the very beginning of the summer. I am looking forward to next year's blooms already. With all of this rain, I'm thinking the peonies should have plenty of fuel to create next year's buds and store lots of energy in their roots for next year's blooms. With the rain come lots of competition, weeds! I use hardwood mulch as a weed deterrent on most of my peonies. I have a couple of beds that are just dirt which I have to hoe to keep the weeds out. I also use weed spray around the edges of the mulched beds. Without this I don't think there would be any way I could keep up! Even in the mulched beds some weeds still sprout. So I end up pulling these by hand. I got up a lot of these weeds yesterday, but they're still out there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 Peony Stem Counts

Wow! I just braved the midday 90+ degree heat (head index of 99 degrees) to start on my peony stem counts. This is going to have to be done a bit at a time because it is HOT out there! Counting the peony stems gives me a good idea of which peonies are growing and increasing well from year to year. It may also indicate whether they like their growing conditions. If they are not increasing well, they could have too much sun, too little sun, too little moisture, etc. Also it tells me which peonies I should be dividing this fall. I believe a good rule of thumb is if a peony has 7-8 stems or more, it is a good candidate for division. My intersectional peony 'Bartzella' actually increased from 10 stems last year to 17 stems this year, almost double!
Semi Woody Stems of
Peony 'Bartzella'
Herbaceous Stems of
Peony 'Mrs. FDR'