Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's peony time

Not bloom time of course, but time to get out your catalogs and decide which ones you want to add to your peony collection. The best time for planting or transplanting peonies is September. If you order now, you will receive your plants at about the correct time for planting.

Peonies bloom at slightly different times so it is possible to extend your season by ordering early, mid and late season bloomers. Also, watch for tall and short varieties (21" to 40") and ones described as having very sturdy stems. Just to be on the safe side, order a peony cage too. That will guarantee your plant will stand up straight and not allow the heavy blooms to fall over and be ruined. Cages also prevent dogs and kids from running over newly planted bushes.

Once planted, peonies can live for a century. They aren't happy about being moved or divided, although transplanting can usually be done successfully if you are careful about weather and planting depth. Choose a site that is well drained, amend your soil with well rotted compost, and be sure not to plant them too deep.

A word of caution. Check out Garden Watchdog before ordering from any online vendor you don't know.

I'm looking at A&D's website. They have a nice selection in the $20 to $30 range, 3-5 eyes.
Khlem Song Sparrow has a good reputation for quality plants at $20 to $50, 3- 5 eyes. Newer hybrids, I didn't see many of the old standbys. Do order their wonderful catalog!
Gilbert H. Wild and Son has peonies in the $6 to $20 price range 3-5 eyes. Mostly old fashioned and more common varieties.
(I've ordered from Khlem and Wild in the past but have never bought from A&D Nursery.)

I'm trying to decide among these:

Mons. Jules Elie a medium pink double, fragrant of course:)

Mrs. F. D. Roosevelt said to be a classic. Many very fragrant, soft pink blooms per stem. Long outer petals overlapping a rosebud center. Gold Medal winner. An early bloomer. I'm almost certain this is one I will order.

Sarah Bernhardt (A&D Nursery Photo) possibly the best known pink peony. I have one of these but would like another for a different location. Sarah is a late bloomer.
Salmon Glory(A&D Nursery Photo)
Paul Wild(A&D Nursery Photo) fragrance is harder to find in red peonies than in other colors. I really like the looks of this red.
I keep looking at Bowl of Beauty. It is an elegant peony, but the doubles or bombs are my favorites.

Sorbet is a combination of pink and cream. Very full. No mention of fragrance so I may pass on this one. (A Gilbert H. Wild photo)

I'm definitely geting this Edulis Superba, one of the most reliable. A very early dark pink with good fragrance. (Gilbert H Wild photo)

So, everybody, open your catalogs and let's decide.