Friday, May 18, 2012

Favourite Things Friday: Peonies

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size. –Gertrude S. Wister

Spring flowers are my favorite. It is probably because they have the less is more thing down pat. They bloom for two weeks and then you have to wait another 50 weeks to see them again. After a long, dreary winter, those first beautiful colors of spring are miracles to me. I have a serious thing for tulips and peonies.

I have 17 peony plants, of which only three are repeats. All but four have buds on them this year {and those four are going to be relocated to see if they'll buck up and grow already} and I am so excited, because three of those 13 with buds on them are new bloomers this year. A couple of the plants in sunnier spots have started to bloom already and that's my favorite thing today.

{As a side note, my dad told me the other day that his grandma was a member of the Ogden Garden Club. Her specialty was roses and she would go out and use rolls and rolls of film taking pictures of her gardens. It must be hereditary.}

This peony is called Karl Rosenfield. I have two Karl Rosenfield plants. This one is on the south side of the house, so it is a little ahead of the other plant, which will be blooming any day now. Their color is so eye-catching.

This is Top Brass. There are six different bloom types for peonies. This one is called a double bomb and it is a good 7" across. I love the yellow in the center of this pretty white peony.

This peony was named after the man who discovered penicillin, Dr. Alexander Fleming. This is one of my oldest peonies as well as one of my favorites because of its beautiful pink color.

I'm sure you're wondering what is so interesting about this peony that hasn't even bloomed yet. I was going to wait to post about it until it did actually bloom, but I'm so excited about this bud that I'm giving you a sneak preview of something amazing to come.

This is a hybrid of a tree peony and an herbaceous peony {all of the other peonies I have are of the herbaceous variety and they are the most common}. What that means is that this looks like a regular garden variety peony, blooms like one and you take care of it the same way you would a regular peony. What it gets from the tree peony side of its family tree is stems strong enough to support the giant blooms that appear in mid-spring, which is a definitely plus for a peony. All of my other peonies have support rings around them, but they still bow over with the weight of the giant flowers they produce. Ironic, isn't it?

This hybrid is called Bartzella and its blooms are a beautiful lemon yellow. They are so beautiful that there was quite a to-do when it was first introduced 10ish years ago. Cuttings were selling for $200 a pop. I bought my start five years ago for the much more reasonable sum of $49 {plus shipping}. I've never paid that much for a plant {that wasn't a tree} and never will again because $49 {plus shipping} for a hybrid shrub it is just too sad for words. Generally speaking, if a perennial plant doesn't bloom by its third year, it probably sterile and won't bloom. You can move it and see if it likes a different spot better, but most of the time that doesn't help. I'd pretty much given up on old Bart here because he was supposed to bloom two years ago. But I suppose that good things come to those to wait. I counted nine buds on Bartzella this afternoon! I can't wait to see if the yellow bloom color lives up to all the hype.

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regan said...

Oh! I'm all excited to see what the Bartzella bloom looks like! I love peonies, and have several in my yard. They are all just about 4 years old now, and are fairly small with few blooms. I can't wait until they are 15 years old, like my neighbor's, and full of blooms, and huge! lol

Paulette said...

I just had a conversation with my aunt this afternoon about peonies, specifically the fern peony (fernleaf peony) she has been wanting a cutting of from her sister, who doesn't want to give her one. But somehow my dad recently finagled a cutting (or I should say a small clump to plant) from that sister and when my other aunt found out about it she was really giving him the gas about it. The aunt I was talking to today said she priced buying one a couple years ago and it was $75! Apparently, the one my other aunt has is from an old, old fern peony bush that used to be on what was my great-grandparents' property.

Anyway, I loved seeing your peony blooms and the fact that you know their names and such. You have a great variety. I hope the Bartzella blooms so we can ooh and aah right along with you!

Carin@Ullhärvan said...

Who doesn't love peonies! They are so beautiful. I think it will be at least a month before mine start to bloom. Hopefully it will be a dry season, because the rain just ruin them.

Sarcastic Quilter said...

Beautiful! I never try peonies because of their heavy blooms and my penchant for laziness (I'd never get around to giving them some support). Yours are just lovely.

Shay said...

I live vicariously through the gardening efforts of others due to my propensity to kill all things green or pretty.

Your peonies just made my day!