With the seemingly interminable winter, and ice which persisted into mid-April in shady spots, it seemed as if the peony bloom would never arrive. In New England we like to joke ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.’ This has been true with our transition from winter to summer. Spring seems like an afterthought after two weeks of weather in 70s, 80s and even a few days earlier this week around 90. Needless to say, this summer-like weather of the last few weeks has rushed the season along. This past weekend, we still had forsythia blooming, even as the lilacs and peonies began to open. While its been very dry, and we could use a good rain, now that the peony bloom has come, we hope that the dry weather continues.
The first peonies to open were P. japonica, the woodland herbaceous species from Japan.
P. mlokosewitschii, the rare yellow species herbaceous peony from the Caucasus.
P. anomala, an exceedingly attractive and easy to grow species herbaceous peony from Northeastern Russia.
We have seen some aborted blossoms on the early blooming tree peonies. This happens in years like this, with very hot and dry temperatures in the lead up to the bloom. Luckily only a few flowers per plant are affected by aborted petal formation.
Another effect of the rushed spring is that some double formed cultivars are blooming as semi-doubles. This variety, ‘Apple Gorgeous’ shows a semi-double form this spring.
‘Blue Sapphire‘ is a perennial favorite. We were struck this year how fragrant the blossoms are.
‘Caozhou Red’ a very slow growing dwarf tree peony from Heze, in Shandong province. Its a stingy bloomer, but oh, what a color!
‘Champion Fragrance’ one of the few early blooming dark red-maroon Chinese tree peonies.
‘Era of Purple,’ always our first Japanese tree peony to bloom.
‘Jade Seal of State,’ is an old classical Chinese, very slow growing with few flowers.
‘Number One Scholar’s Red.’ This Chinese tree peony cultivar dates to at least the Qing dynasty.
‘Supreme Pink’ Chinese tree peony
The exceedingly rare ‘Wei’s Purple.’ This cultivar dates from the Song dynasty over 800 years ago!
‘White Screen Reflects a Blue Jewel,’ the first rockii type Chinese tree peony to bloom. Many many more to come!
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