Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' Growing in January

Yes, this is a tree peony that is growing in January. It is only just starting its growth cycle, but it is starting. When I've seen tree peonies growing so early in the season in previous years, it was worrisome to me. I didn't and still do not have tons of experience with tree peonies. However, I am beginning to learn that these mighty beauties begin their growth cycle much earlier than herbaceous peonies. Also the buds of tree peonies seem to be much more impervious to winter weather (although not invincible). Since almost all of the tree peony's flower buds are above ground all winter long, these buds are built to withstand the cold temperatures and weather fluctuations that can be experienced in a winter to spring warm up transition.

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'
Beginning to Grow in January

This is likely another reason that tree peonies have a reputation of growing well in Southern climates. Since tree peonies' flower buds are formed in the fall, and remain on the tree peony stem tips all winter long, they are able to accumulate more chilling hours on their buds than herbaceous peony buds, which are at or below the soil surface all winter long. This is yet another reason to plant your herbaceous peonies as close to the soil surface as possible in Southern climates. This allows the buds to accumulate the chilling hours needed to flower. So if you grow tree peonies in a Southern climate, and you notice that they begin to grow so much earlier than your herbaceous peonies, do not fear. The foliage will not be harmed and the buds will likely be just fine too...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Questions - Dividing an Herbaceous Peony in Winter

I received this question from Gwendolyn in zone 7b:


I have an 8 year old Sarah Bernhardt peony that I would like to divide. I live in Raleigh, NC and I was wondering if it is too late to divide it? Thank you for any advice you can give me.


Herbaceous Peony Buds Still Dormant
(End of January)

Actually you are in luck. Since the ground never really experiences a hard, long freeze during the winter here in growing zone 7b, you have some extra time to divide your herbaceous peony plant (especially with the warmer temperatures we've been experiencing here recently). Ideally peonies are divided in the fall season. However, digging and dividing a peony now in our growing zone should be no problem, as long as there is no snow cover (which is rare here anyway) and the ground is not frozen at the time. I would definitely get it done now, though. January and February would probably be the limit on when to divide a peony in a Southern growing zone.

Herbaceous Peony Buds Beginning of Growth Cycle
(End of February)

By March the peony's foliage will begin to start an active growth cycle, and that foliage would be stunned by a division during that time. The plant may still recover. However, completing the division now, before that active growth cycle starts is your best bet. Also if you need some step by step instructions (with pictures) on how to divide an herbaceous peony, please take a look at my How to Divide an Herbaceous Peony guide on my How To page. Good luck with your dividing your peony!

Herbaceous Peony Foliage Active Growth Cycle
(Middle of March)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 Herbaceous Hot 100 Peony Catalog Price Comparison List

I've been doing my Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison Lists for a few years now. This year I thought it might also be helpful to list some of the pricey herbaceous peonies that people might be interested in. There a several up and coming hot herbaceous peonies that tend to be around or above the $100 price range. Some of these peonies can be hard to find and acquire because their stock is so limited. So this list will give you a heads up of where you can find them and who has them priced for what. Even if you don't want to spend that much on one peony (yet!), at least you can drool! Enjoy! (Also if you'd like your company to be listed here, please join the American Peony Society as a Commercial Member, since this is where I obtain my peony grower information.)

Photo Courtesy of Flower Muse

Peony Vendor
Blossom Hill
Cricket Hill
Hidden Springs
Peony's Envy
Peony Shop Holland
Solaris Farms
Song Sparrow

Herbaceous PeonyPriceVendor
Alexander Woollcott$75.00Hidden Springs
Blood Moon$225.00Solaris Farms
Bob$125.00Hidden Springs
Callisto$80.00Solaris Farms
Dione$100.00Solaris Farms
Dreamtime$115.00Solaris Farms
Europa$225.00Solaris Farms
Faithful Dream$140.00Hollingsworth
Golden Angel$125.00Song Sparrow
Golden Wheel$125.00Cricket Hill
John's DreamC$350.00Blossom Hill
Juliska$80.00Solaris Farms
Juliska$95.00Hidden Springs
Kathy's Touch$80.00Hollingsworth
Kayleigh Ann$200.00Hollingsworth
Lemon Chiffon€21.00Peony Shop Holland
Lemon Chiffon$90.00Brooks
Lemon Chiffon$90.00Hollingsworth
Lemon Chiffon$95.00Solaris Farms
Lemon Chiffon$99.99Hidden Springs
Lemon Chiffon$115.99Fina
Lemon Chiffon$135.99Song Sparrow
Little Dorrit$125.00Brooks
Little Corporal$90.00Solaris Farms
Little Corporal$120.00Hollingsworth
Lois' Choice$85.00Brooks
Lois' Choice$89.99Hidden Springs
Lois' Choice$90.00Adelman
Lois' Choice$90.00Hollingsworth
Lois' Choice$90.00Solaris Farms
Lois' Choice€120.00Peony Shop Holland
Old Soldier$80.00Solaris Farms
Old Soldier$80.00Hollingsworth
Paeonia mlokosewitschii$75.00Brooks
Pastelegance€200.00Peony Shop Holland
Pastelegance$240.00Solaris Farms
Pastelorama$200.00Solaris Farms
Pearled Lemon Cream$100.00Song Sparrow
Red Rock Canyon$175.00Solaris Farms
Sky Dance$80.00Solaris Farms
Steven Ambrose$200.00Hidden Springs
Summer Glow$75.00Hidden Springs
Summer Glow$70.00Adelman
Sunny Boy€500.00Peony Shop Holland
Sunny Day€125.00Peony Shop Holland
Tranquil Dove$90.00Hollingsworth
Triton$100.00Solaris Farms
Tropicana$75.00Solaris Farms
Vanilla Schnapps$125.00Solaris Farms
Vanilla Schnapps$150.00Hollingsworth
Virginia Emerson$100.00Hollingsworth

Friday, January 20, 2017

2017 First Intersectional Peony Gift from a Friend

USPS Priority Mail Box with Peony Gift

This week I was delighted to receive my first ever division of an intersectional peony as a gift from a Southern peony friend. Sure my Mom has bought me a peony for my birthday before (and of course that was much appreciated), but I had never received a division from a peony friend's own garden. So it was especially nice to receive a box from a fellow Southern peony gardener this week with a division of 'Sonoma YeDo' in it. The box was large, but rather light. However, when I opened the box, the root was huge, and despite its lack of packing material, not even one root appeared to have been broken. Way to go USPS Priority Mail!

Peony Root in Reused (Yay!) Southern States Bag

The root was simply wrapped in a reused retail bag, with a name on it I thought appropriate - Southern States. :-) The root itself easily had more than 10 pink eyes on it and more than 10 stems cut back from the previous season - a very large root. So it seems very likely that I will get a bloom from this one this year! How exciting! I am keeping my fingers crossed. I will definitely be posting some pics if I get a bright, yellow bloom from this Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo' this year! :-D

Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo'

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Transplant Late Blooming Dark Pink Herbaceous Peony

Transplanted Peony of Interest's
Pink Bud
Transplanted Peony's
Faded Tag

I know it is super late in the season (read: past the season) to transplant peonies. However, I took advantage of the 62° day we had this week (now that the snow and ice has melted) to transplant a peony that looked promising to me last spring. It is a dark pink herbaceous peony, and I had tagged it as "WATCH LATE BLOOMER" at the end of the peony bloom season. It was particularly interesting to me because it was the only peony blooming after all of the other peonies in the bed had finished blooming. That is a valuable peony to have. I am curious to see when and how it blooms next spring. So I moved it from a crowded seedling bed to a less crowded seedling bed. Since I missed getting pictures of the blooms last spring, I will be sure to get some photos of its flowers when it blooms.

Transplanted Peony's Roots and Brown Stem