Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Peony Companion Plant Bearded Iris

Peony 'Lovely Rose' and Bearded Iris 'Harvest of Memories'

Okay. So maybe this one is an obvious choice, but peonies and irises not only grow well together but bloom well together. I just couldn't resist snapping the photo below of my Peony 'Goldilocks' blooming alongside by 'Bewilderbeast' irises last year. I have a small collection of broken color bearded irises growing near my garden bench along with several special peony selections. Peony 'Goldilocks' is a rare yellow colored herbaceous peony. There are several varieties of yellow intersectional peonies and yellow tree peonies, but yellow herbaceous peonies are much less common. For some reason the broken color 'zebra' irises appeal to me personally, but you can use any solid, bi-color, or multicolored bearded irises you choose. Since the peonies and irises bloom at the same time, you may want to consider complimentary or contrasting colored irises as companions to your peony varieties.

Peony 'Goldilocks' and Bearded Iris 'Bewilderbeast'

This year I caught a few other peony and iris beauties hanging out together. The contrast of the bold coral pink herbaceous Peony 'Lovely Rose' and the bright golden yellow blooms of the 'Harvest of Memories' bearded iris play nicely together. Another bonus that comes with the 'Harvest of Memories' bearded iris is reliable reblooming. This golden yellow iris' first blooms are in early spring, and it gets a second set of blooms again in fall. This bearded iris was still blooming through our first frost and beyond! I am really amazed with its flower power. :-) Peony 'Lovely Rose' is also a Southern Peony Best Performer. It was selected as a Southern Peony Best Performer in 2014, 2014 Peony 'Lovely Rose' Best Performer - Week 3, and has bloomed reliably every year since!

Peony 'Lovely Rose' and Bearded Iris 'Harvest of Memories'

No matter which bearded irises you choose to grow, you can be sure they will look great with your peonies. The heights of the standard German bearded irises are usually pretty close to the height of peonies, which will provide you will beautiful views and plenty of photo opportunities. With so many color combinations to create, the possibilities are almost endless. Now is also a great time of year to think about changes and additions you'd like to make to your garden next year. While you're stuck inside with the cold weather, there are so many catalogs of beautiful flowers to peruse online. If you already grow bearded irises as a companion plant to your peonies, I'd love to see what color combinations you've come up with. Feel free to send me any photos of peony and iris combos that you grow and would love to share. Happy Gardening!

Bearded Iris 'Tiger Honey' and Unknown Pink Herbaceous Peony

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 Paeonia rockii Purple Tree Peony Seeds

Try, try again. Remember those Purple Peony Rockii Seeds from Ebay Canada last year? Well, after the P. Rockii Seeds Arrived via Air Mail from Canada they seemed a bit dry, and some of the bonus seeds were cracked upon arrival. None of the Purple Paeonia rockii tree peony seeds I ordered or any of the bonus seeds actually germinated this spring. I was quite disappointed. However, I decided to email the seller to see if she might be willing to replace the seeds since none of the actually sprouted. I explained to her that none of the seeds sprouted and nicely asked if she would send me another set of 10 seeds from this year's harvest. She agreed as long I remembered to email her again in the fall with a reminder. I emailed her two weeks ago with my address, and this week I received another set of Paeonia rockii Purple tree peony seeds in the mail. She didn't have to replace them, but she did. I am really happy and excited to see if this set of P. rockii tree peony seeds will actually sprout. It is little things like this that renew my faith in people. I am off to plant these seeds right away!

Replacement Paeonia rockii Purple Tree Peony Seeds

Sunday, December 4, 2016

2016 Southern Peony Photo Series

With the addition of this month's gorgeous, red, Southern peony 'Scarlet O'Hara', I completed my goal of getting at least one peony picture per month on my web site. These photos grace my main page for about a month's time each, and then they are added to my Photos page. The list of peony photos is steadily growing (as is my inventory - so I'm not sure my photos are keeping up, but we're making progress). :-) I am happy to say I've added these twelve beauties over the past year to share with all of you. This may seem like an easy feat, but it does take a bit of time to select the right photo, editing for consistency, and updates to the site. I hope you all enjoy seeing them as much as I do, and I am very excited to continue to share my garden with everyone in the coming year!

2016 Southern Peony Photo Series

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 Herbaceous vs. Intersectional Fall Foliage

If you are looking for fall color in your peony landscape, then herbaceous peonies are definitely your best bet! The range of colors is amazing - there are reds, golds, oranges, lime greens, and even a few that are still a lovely dark green. Of course not all herbaceous peonies have fall foliage. Some herbaceous peony varieties do die back early. For information on those, check out my post about Peonies with Early Dormancy Foliage. To see which peonies have created colorful foliage for me in the past, check out some of my fall foliage colors from previous years - 2015 Beautiful Fall Peony Foliage Colors, 2014 Enjoy Fall Peony Foliage Colors, 2012 Colorful Fall Peony Foliage, 2011 Peony Fall Foliage Colors, 2010 Peony Fall Foliage.

Herbaceous Peony Fall Foliage Colors - Orange, Red, & Gold

The beauty of the fall colors of these three herbaceous peonies really struck me, and I just had to snap this photo to share. These peonies are (from left to right) Peony 'Green Lotus' (orange foliage), Peony 'Pink Spritzer' (red foliage), and Peony 'Raspberry Clown' (gold foliage). I also could not help but notice the contrast of this herbaceous peony flower bed to my intersectional peony flower bed (and my tree peony flower bed as well). As you can see the herbaceous peonies are proudly displaying a range of autumn colored foliage, while the intersectional peonies are all brown (and they've been brown for weeks, actually). It seems that intersectional peonies are much more like tree peonies than herbaceous peonies in the fall. The leaves on herbaceous peonies last much longer than either of the other two types (intersectional and tree). So if you want to add beautiful spring blossoms and bright fall foliage to your garden, then herbaceous peonies are where it's at!

Intersectional Peony Brown Fall Foliage

Thursday, November 10, 2016

2016 Peony Companion Chrysanthemum Garden Mums

I couldn't help but take this picture today. The gorgeous pink-purple mums really pop against the bright yellow fall foliage of my peony. It also reminds me that even in this dank darkness and degradation of fall, there is still light. There is still hope. Winter has yet to arrive, but Spring will always come again. If you don't yet grow any Chrysanthemum in your garden, you are missing out. Nothing else lights up the fall garden like Chrysanthemums, also known as Mums or Garden Mums. They are like lots of little, fluffy lollipops of color just bursting open come fall, and just like lollipops these blooms last a long, long time. These particular Mums in the photo have been blooming for weeks! Chrysanthemums are perennials that are usually hardy in Zones 4 through 8. So if you need some autumn pops of color, head to your local garden center for mums in all shades of reds, yellows, oranges, pinks, whites, and purples!

Peony with Yellow Fall Foliage and Pink-Purple Chrysanthemum