Archive for May, 2017

Garden and Nursery Update early May 2017

May 08, 2017

Here’s what’s been keep us busy recently at Cricket Hill Garden.

Our sales area is stocked with a great selection of tree and herbaceous peonies this year.

A true testament to the hardiness of herbaceous peonies- rouges popping up from discarded roots in the compost pile. Who would suspect that such delicate beauty could also be so rugged?

One of our tree peony production areas.

1st year tree peony grafts standing tall.

Many 1st year grafted tree peonies will set flower buds. We pick these off early in the spring before they can develop so these young plants concentrate on vegetative growth. With a few thousand to disbud, we can be excused for missing one.

‘Early Bird,’ an early blooming hybrid herbaceous peony, bred by the eminent Prof. Saunders.

Herbaceous peony seedlings, these will be used as our rootstock for grafting tree peonies this fall.

Last week we all got really stoned. This the smaller of two rock piles created from plowing up a small fraction (1/4 acre) of our new 3.5 acre production field.

Baby fruit trees going into nursery beds.

Breba (1st crop) figs really starting to grow with the warming weather.


View of the east garden. This will be bursting with blossoms in a week.

Beware of botrytis. Cool, wet weather is make the perfect environment for this destructive fungus to spread. We use Actinovate, to protect against this fungus in the spring.

Pawpaw blossoms opening. Our fingers are crossed for good pollination this year!

Blossoms of ‘Nero’ aronia berry.

The buds of ‘Roselette,’ an early blooming herbaceous peony looking plump.

Downy buds of the quince trees.

Mulberries starting to form!

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Early and Mid Season Peony Blooms 2017

May 18, 2017

With the last few days of warm weather, many of the early and mid-season tree peonies have popped open here at Cricket Hill Garden, along with some of the early blooming herbaceous peonies. The flowers are a bit smaller and less vibrant this year than we typically see. We attribute this to stress induced by last year’s drought as well as the uneven temperatures (alternate periods of warm and cold) this winter. Despite all of this, these plants are still putting on quite a show, filling the garden with their sweet perfume.

‘Apple Gorgeous’

‘Purple Tower Inlayed with Gold’

‘Luoyang Red’

‘Ling Flower Wet with Dew’

‘Murad of Hershey Bar’

‘Multi-Colored Butterfly’

A self-sown seedling

‘Peony Heaven Blue Lotus’

                White Crane Lying in the Snow

White Screen Reflects a Blue Jewel

Lotus Like

Gold Sand in a Black Ocean

Cinnamon Pink

Early Scout

Unknown fern leaf hybrid

P. officinalis

Aronias in full bloom

As are the pawpaws!

Fingers crossed for good fruit set this year on the pawpaws.

We love finishing a long hot day in the field with an evening stroll in the orchard, where the quince are in bloom.

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Peak Tree Peony Bloom 2017

May 24, 2017

The last several days have been glorious for the peak of the tree peonies here at Cricket Hill Garden. After three sweltering days last week, the weather cooled to a much more seasonable (and peony blossom friendly) range of 60-75° F.

Though the Chinese and Japanese tree peonies are beginning to shed their petals, the season for hybrid tree peonies (yellows, dark red-blacks and silvery apricots) are just beginning as are the herbaceous peonies. Here’s a look at some garden highlights from the last week:

‘White Swallow Tail Flecked with Gold’ Chinese rockii tree peony

‘The Crane’

‘Silver Waves on a Blue Ocean’ Chinese rockii tree peony. This is a new one for us.

‘Red Fairy’

Our mature shrub of ‘Red Fairy.’ It was planted in 2000 and is now over 7′ tall!

‘Penguins on Ice’


‘Jade Crown Blue Belt’

‘Glorious Journey’

‘Twin Beauties of Peace’

‘Multi-Colored Butterfly’

‘Hubei Blue’

‘Beauty Yu Ji in a Red Dress’

‘Phoenix White’

Some of our Japanese tree peonies.

More Japanese tree peonies.

‘Black Dragon Brocade’

‘Shimane Wisteria’


‘Golden Crown.’ We consider this to be one of the best yellow tree peonies.

‘Firelight.’ This is a rarely seen Saunder’s hybrid herbaceous peony.

Another early blooming Saunder’s hybrid ‘Roselette.’ This one was blooming last week and is already gone by.

Medlars are blooming!

Fruit forming on the ‘Norris’ che tree.




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