Still Alive, 2017 Season Finally Starts

You may have noticed a pattern in my activity on this page – an initial flurry of fervor-driven posts that mark  the beginning of the growing season (and the end of nearly seven months of winter) followed by, well, honestly not much else. Despite an unhealthy work load, a trip to Japan last summer, constantly overextending myself with social commitments, an OCD-like drive to meticulously collect and catalogue data and photos of these plants without ever publishing it, and poor time management in general, this blog still draws breath! I must concede that this juggling act is life, and that I must simply be a better juggler or stop complaining. This year I intend on being far more active in this space. Take that for what it’s worth.

Hm, where do I start? Last year, I suppose. 2016 was a mix of excitement and disappointment. We had an extremely mild winter and a nice, warm sunny spring. The plants grew in leaps and bounds and after three years I finally witnessed the marvel that are tree peony blooms. However, summer was very rainy and as a result during flowering time many blooms were water damaged and/or shattered by the rain. I was able to obtain a very interesting peony variety that was made available for commercial sale for the first time ever which will be discussed in a future post.

By comparison, 2017 feels like it is off to a very slow start. March was mild but April has been unseasonably cold and we have received more snow in April than all previous months combined. At the time of writing the peonies are finally breaking dormancy and the little red pips are a sight for sore eyes. The benchmark for me is always my double fern leaf peony which has just broke the ground in the last week. I was out in the bed today when I made an observation that made me unspeakably happy – this is the first year my tree peonies have had growth off of the previous years’ woody growth. In every year prior they have died back to the ground due to what I suspect is just the sheer cold of our winters (and perhaps a little botrytis for the sake of full disclosure). I really feel like the tree peonies are going to hit their stride this year. Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. With any luck the weather will start cooperating and I will have some quality updates in the near future. Stay tuned!


Bloom Date: Coral Fay

Coral Fay (Fay, 1973) is a herbaceous hybrid with P. tenufolia, the fern leaf peony, in its parentage. This ancestry can be seen in Coral Fay’s finely cut foliage and early flowering. Flowers are a very eye-catching hot pink and are semi-double in form. I find the habit of the plant a bit lax so I tend to stake it. This year Coral Fay bloomed on May 19.

First Bloom of 2016

The double red fern leaf once again claims the spot of my first peony to bloom, as will always be the case until I add some other early bloomers to my collection. Regardless, it’s always a joy to see it’s glossy red flowers as it means the peony season is well underway.

I bought this fern leaf on clearance in 2013, and at the time the root mass was so tiny and in such bad shape that I was uncertain if the plant would overwinter. Last year it set two buds, one of which was damaged by pests, and bloomed on May 24. This year the first flower opened on May 6, over two weeks earlier (a result of an unseasonably warm and short winter), and set 6 buds – all of which opened.  It’s a true underdog story! I am very pleased with the progress of this little dude.

…All the other 2015 blooms

Hello? Anyone still here? Ahem. Hurray for a year of inactivity! Last summer kind of got away from me, and with a 5 week trip to Japan in the works it looks like things won’t be any different this year. However, what will hopefully be different is my posting discipline. Anways, let’s get down (back) to business and see what was in bloom last summer.

Coral Fay (Fay, 1973)
Bloom Date: June 1, 2015

Singing in the Rain (Smith, 2002)
Bloom Date: June 8, 2015


Haleigh’s Hallelujah (Smith)
Bloom Date: June 8, 2o15


 Magical Mystery Tour (Smith, 2002)
Bloom Date: June 10, 2015


 Morning Lilac (Anderson, 1999)
Bloom Date: June 10, 2015


 Etched Salmon (Cousins-Klehm, 1981)
Bloom Date: June 11, 2015


 Salmon Beauty (Glasscock-Auten, 1939)
Bloom Date: June 12, 2015


Cora Louise (Anderson 1986)
Bloom Date: June 15, 2015

 Simply Red (Hybridizer Unknown)
Bloom Date: June 15, 2015


Krinkled White (Brand, 1928)
Bloom Date: June 16, 2015

 Minnie Shaylor (Shaylor, 1919)
Bloom Date: June 16,2015


Raspberry Sundae (Klehm, 1968)
Bloom Date: June 17, 2015

 Sarah Bernhardt (Lemoine, 1906)
Bloom Date: June 19, 2015

 Coral Charm (Wissing, 1964)
Bloom Date: June 19, 2015


Week 5 Progress

Hello all! This past week has been very sunny and hot, so much so that the peonies are wilting by about midday. These are relatively young plants, and sometimes they grow so rapidly that the root system cannot supply enough water to the foliage under intense heat. I’ve therefore taken it upon myself to water them several times a week. They are drought tolerant plants, but that doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from a good watering from time to time. There is some rain in the forecast this week thankfully as the last month has been very dry.
Most plants have leafed out at this point. It is especially noticeable in the more mature Itohs, which look like they’ve easily doubled in size. Here are some photos. As always, thanks for looking!