It been a rainy week at Cricket Hill Garden, excellent weather for transplanting our veggie seedlings, but not optimal for viewing the peonies. Early this week we were between bloom cycles, with the last of the Japanese and American tree peonies just finishing and the herbaceous lactiflora hybrids and intersectional peonies just beginning. While the tree peony was 2-3 weeks early this year, the herbaceous peonies seem like they will open right on schedule for Memorial Day. Coming up from the ground, herbaceous and intersectional peonies are less likely to bloom early.
The last of the Japanese tree peonies are now finishing, bringing to an end almost three weeks of continuous tree peony blossoms.
‘Black Dragon Brocade’ 黑竜錦 Kokuryu-nishiki Japanese tree peony
‘Joy of Longevity (of Shimane)’ 島根長寿樂 Shimane Chojuraku Japanese tree peony
‘Yellow Crown’ 黄冠 Oukan is a new addition to our collection which bloomed for the fist time this year. It is relatively recent hybrid, with very large and ruffly upward facing flowers.
This week saw our small collection of American hybrid tree peonies come into full bloom. Tree peonies first arrived in the United States in the 19th century, many brought back by seaman who had been to China on trading ships. Later in the early 20th century, Japanese tree peonies were also imported into this country. It was not until later in the 20th century that a distinctive cultivar group would emerge in the United States. Two men were primarily responsible for the initial work in the field, A.P. Saunders and Nassos Daphnis. For several decades Saunders worked to cross his collection of Japanese tree peonies with species P. lutea and P. delavayi peonies collected in the wild of south west China. Daphnis continued Saunders work and together their hybrid plants have added new and subtle shades to the peony palette unknown in either Japanese or Chinese peonies.
‘High Noon‘ is perhaps the most widely propagated of Prof. Saunders’ P. lutea tree peony hybrids. It is vigorous grower and very reliable bloomer.
‘Age of Gold’ exhibits one of the less desirable characteristics of many of the lutea hybrids; downward facing or nodding flowers, a trait inherited from the species P. lutea peony.
‘Mystery‘ is a subtle beauty which only becomes more complex as the blossom ages.
‘Vesuvian’ is one of the rare doubles that Saunders deemed worthy of propagation.
‘Leda’ is one of our favorite Daphnis hybrid tree peonies.
‘Themis,’ like the vast majority of Daphnis tree peonies, is named after figures from Greek mythology, in this case a Titianess who was the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom.
This week the early intersectional peonies are beginning to open and will really pop once the sun comes out.
This intersectional hybrid was bred by Frank Simone. He deemed this plant and its pink cousin shown below to be without much merit or commercial future. After many years of evaluation and positive customer feedback, we have decided that there is a place for these strange peonies in the garden and are pleased to be able to offer them for sale.
We are still need a bit of clear weather for the lactiflora herbaceous peonies to pop, in the mean time, some our own earlier blooming Peony Heaven hybrids blossomed very well for us this year. These plants are hybrids which have quite a bit of the early blooming P. macrophylla and P. mlokosewitschii in their genetic heritage, characterized by large leaves, yellow coloring and vigorous growth.
‘Empress Wu’s Yellow’