Sunday 24 June 2018

Planting in the spring vs planting in the fall

Welcome 2018!

Last year was awful.  It rained every weekend, and the mosquitoes were bad.  There was no way to keep up with the weeding and I lost a few more plants due to the roots sitting in water.  Some are now further behind  than the year before.

This year I started weeding with winter coat on, in April. It stayed cool and not very much rain.  Then suddenly there was a heat wave and bang all the peonies were blooming!

I won best in show at the Canadian Peony society AGM show in Oshawa.  What an honor, there was two trophies for the one peony, Pastelegance.  Thank you Judi Denny for presenting!

Now let's get down to planting in the fall vs planting the spring.

Growers will dig up the roots in the fall, even if you buy them in the spring.  If you buy them in the spring, they were dug in the fall and stored until the spring in a cool place.  Some will put them in pots and keep them cool, then put them in a greenhouse to the nurseries to sell.

Then you buy them in the spring and plant them in the spring, they will not do as well as planting in the fall.

Here is the proof:
These plants were planted in the fall of 2015.  Most are blooming now and have a great roots system.

These were dug in the fall of 2015, but planted in the spring of 2016.  They were stored in peat moss in a cool place for the winter. The growing conditions are similar, the root size was the same.
The plants are not as big, not as many have blooms and we even lost a few.
There are two groups that were planted in the spring, both with the same results.
The Canadian Peony Society has been trying to educate the public about growing peonies but, nurseries continue to sell the plants in the spring.  The best way to buy peonies is bare roots in the fall.

I have bought peonies from nurseries, and from growers.  The peonies from the growers with a fall delivery, hands down were better looking plants with more blooms after a few years.  The ones from the containers I always bought as early as possible in the spring and put them in the ground as soon as possible without disturbing the roots as much as possible.  They did look good the first year, but after a few years were not as healthy as the bare roots.

The roots from the pots were more root bound and did not spread out to support a healthy plant as much as the bare roots did.  Healthier plant, better blooms!  Peonies go dormant in the fall, so that is the time to divide or move them.  If you are moving them, cut back some of the root to promote new growth, the plants will do better than if you do not.  

When you plant in the fall is it better to mulch if possible.  I use straw to mulch and remove the mulch in the spring.  The mulch will protect the roots from thawing and freezing again in the spring.  This helps to reduce the heaving of the roots.  If you do find a root heaved out of the ground during the spring, add more soil on top before the next cool spill.   

Remember, peonies live a long time, pick a spot with lots of sunshine, in well drained soil and they will continue to bring you joy year after year.

Happy gardening, and I hope the birds in your garden bring you as much joy as the birds in mine!

Monday 6 June 2016

First Week of Peony Blooms 2016

We are a week behind compared with last year.  There was just the right amount of rain and it was a wonderful week.  As predicted the weeding is too much.  I tried to hire some students to come and help, but it is hard work.  After one day, they did not come back again.
The backyard looks like a nursery, not like a backyard any more, but it is fun to walk around and see what is blooming.

There is going to be too many peonies to post this year.  I will try to pick a few and post a little about them.  There is over three hundred different peonies.  Since so many were added last fall the blooms may not look the same in the few years.  Let me explain.  When peonies are moved it could take up to three years for the peony flower to mature.  One example is Heavenly Pink or Lemon Chiffon.  Lemon Chiffon may be a single for a couple of years before it is a double again.
The grass is starting to grow between the rows, but my foot prints, from putting soil on the plants that heaved,  have hardened making the ground uneven.
The first week looks very much like last year.  There are only a few, so I can post all of them.
This week had one of the new peonies that was planted in the fall bloom.  The peony was called Little Red Gem.  It is true to the name.  Peonia Officials Mollis, Little Red Gem, Nova, Nosegay, Fernleaf Hybrid, Red Spider, Double Fernleaf all opened this week.

May 20th 2016 Mollis opened.
Mollis has great form as a plant and has leaves with a slight silver hue.  It is the first to open each year.  It is considered a species plant, but is no longer found in the wild.  Last year it opened on May 13th.

May 22nd
Little Red Gem is a short plant that is part of the fine leafed peonies.  It makes a great border plant.  Little Red Gem is new to the garden and handled the move well.
Nova has been slow to recover from the move four years ago, but is worth the wait.  It has a strong stem so the flowers do not need support.  The flowers are yellow, but do not capture well in the pictures.  It always surprises me.One day it is closed and the next it is open with little warning  Each year I expect other flowers to open, but suddenly it is open before them.

May 23rd
Nosegay is tall and full of flowers this year.  It keeps sticking the buds through the fence trying to catch the morning sun.  The flower itself is like a morning sunrise with all of the colours in the flower.  The early flowers I have are mostly red, so Nosegay breaks up the mix with something more to add.

Fernleaf Hybrid looks very much like Little Red Gem.

May 25th
Red spider stands out in the garden. It too is a short plant with silver hues in the leaves.  The flower is wonderful.  I look forward to seeing it each year.  

Double Fernleaf finally opened after sitting there with the buds half open for over a week.
That is all for the first week.  I did go to visit the Oshawa Botanical Gardens where many more flowers were blooming.  Now I want more peonies for next year.
Thanks for stopping by  and don't forget to go to and check out the peonies there.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Spring Is Just Around The Corner

What a fall!  I had my normal delivery of peonies for the fall.  Then I was lucky enough to buy the stock from a peony grower.  I needed to bring in more soil to give the peonies a good start.
The winter was mild, so it is important to walk around and cover any peony that is heaved out of the ground.  I have been having a hard time with all of the mud in the backyard.  The spring should be lovely with all of the new peonies.  They will need a year or two to recover from the move, so the web site only has a limit amount of peonies.  Please visit
There is a facebook page Peonies From The Field too.
The fall was so wet that any equipment that was rented to help move the 75 yards of dirt, got stuck and the ground engulfed the rentals like quick sand.  A lot of the dirt was moved by hand.  There was weeks and weeks of planting.  In the end, some of the peonies I had planed for the square garden did not get planted.  I forgot where I left off and what was planted.  The plan changed several times. The spring will bring lots of  new flowers to the garden, and a new adventure.  I will be doing more work with the Canadian Peony Society.  
The Canadian Peony Society will be at the Peterborough Garden Show in April.  Members will be at the Oshawa Peony festival in June. 
To help get the word out, about the peonies in Bowmanville, there will be talks presented  to some gardeners and garden clubs.  There was news letters to get people up to date.  There will be garden tours, even though we are not ready to receive the public.  There will be some much weeding I will not be able to keep up with everything.  Spring is almost here.  Some of the peonies are starting to peek through the ground. As the spring progress I will have lots of pictures to take along will all of the challenges.  Have a great spring, and keep dreaming about peonies.

Friday 10 July 2015

Seventh and Eight Weeks of Peonies Bloom June 27th to July 10th

Week Seven

July 3rd Minuet opened.  This is a new flower to the garden, and the bloom is unusual.  The bloom may look different next year.
The big surprise was High Noon.  High Noon is a tree that can bloom again.  I moved the tree about three years ago.  This year it bloomed again July 3rd.
Week Eight
The last peony to bloom was Pink Barnoness Schroeder.  The flower finally opened July 8th.
There are only 10 plants left with flowers on them.  Soon it will all be over.  I have already ordered the plants for next fall.  There were a few disappointments this season.  I had ordered
Mothers Choice and waited three years for it to bloom.  One little Coral flower bloomed this year.  Mothers Choice is a white flower, again I got the wrong cultivar. I have stop buying from this supplier.  That makes three different suppliers that have disappointed me, and I have stopped buying from them.  Each of them have sent me wrong flowers at least three times.  Public peony gardens and the internet make it easy to see when you have the wrong cultivar.  It is time to stop complaining and go and weed.  The veggie garden needs my attention.  Have a great summer.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Sixth week of Peony Blooms June 20th to June 26th

Prairie Charm opened June 22nd.

Easy Lavender opened June 23rd.
Border Charm opened June 26th
The end is in sight, which a sad time.  The smell of peonies is still in the air.  There are only a few plants blooming.  I can look back at the pictures and dream about next year.  There are only a few peonies coming this fall.  I cannot keep up with the weeding.  It is time to stop adding beds and just sit back and enjoy them.

Fifth Week of Peony Blooms June 13 to 19th

June 13th was a great day for peonies!  Opened on June 13th, Coral Supreme, Alice Harding, Gay Paree, Imperial Red, Fairy Tale, Fox Trot, Sea Shell, August Dessert, Liebchen, Pillow Cases, Clown, Felix Supreme, Port Royale, Sweetie, Shirley Temple, Doreen, Angel Cheeks, Felix Crousse, Emile Debatene, Karl Rosenfield, Mahogany, Charm, Chippewa, Hot Chocolate, Primevere, Do Tell, Princess Margaret, Tom Eckhart, Lauren, Little Joe, Krinkled White, Fringed Ivory, Gardenia, Bowl of Cream, Gertude Allen, Cheddar Charm.
Coral Supreme
Alice Harding  This is another one that I got the wrong cultivar.  I ordered two, one is white as Alice Harding is.  The other is pink.  Now I have another unknown pink.
Gay Paree is beautiful this year.
 Imperial Red
Fairy Tale bloomed for the first time in two years.
Fox Trot
Sea Shell
August Dessert
Pillow Cases
Felix Supreme is another one that was shipped as Chestine Growdy.  I already have Fielix Supreme so it was easy to identify.
 Port Royale is new to the garden this year.
Shirley Temple
Angel Cheeks
Felix Crousse
Emile Debatene
Karl Rosenfield
Hot Chocolate
Do Tell
Princess Margaret
Tom Eckhart
Fringed Ivory
 Bowl of Cream

Gertude Allen
Cheddar Charm
June 15th brought Edulis Superba, Midnight Sun, Mons Martin Cahusac, Charles Burges.
Edulis Superba is the name on the tag. All of the pictures I have seen this flower is pink not red.  I will need to see another plant to confirm. 
 Midnight Sun
 Mons Martin Cahusac
Charles Burgess
June 16th brought Raspberry Sundae, Nick Shayor, Sarah Bernhart, Hermonie, Paul M Wild, Fancy Nancy, Nippon Beauty, Irene May Gilbert, LeCygne, and Sword Dance.
 Raspberry Sundae did not do well this year. The pink that is normally on top was on a separate flower.
Nick Shaylor
 Sarah Bernhart

Paul M Wild
Fancy Nancy
Nippon Beauty
Irene May Gilbert
Le Cygne
Sword Dance
June 18th brought Ada Nivia, Leslie Peck, Ethel Mars, Duchess D'Orleans, Solange, Auten's Pride, Pink Derby, Fragrant Bouquet and Candy Heart.

Ada Niva
Leslie Peck
Ethel Mars
Solange is a gorgeous cream colour.
Duchesse D'Orleans
Auten's Pride
Pink Derby
Fragrant Bouquet
 Candy Heart
 June 19th, the only new peony was Feather Top.
The season is winding down now.  There a lot of flowers in bloom, but not many that have not opened yet this year.  The mature plants have lots of side buds to extend the season.  The rain keeps knocking off all of the petals.  It is hard to keep up with cutting off the seed pods.  Weeding is a full time job. I better get back to weeding.