Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Kick-off - Paeonia tomentosa
Once upon a time my website had a "Pic of the Day" page, which I discontinued this year. It had the disadvantages of crowding the available webspace and of zero archives. Then my e-pal Denis, in Australia, another peony enthusiast, introduced me to a the weblog concept. I never really clutched into it until suddenly the peony season was upon me, and so here we go...
Today's post should actually have appeared a week ago but I hadn't made the mental leap yet at that point. So:
15 May 2006: Paeonia tomentosa (synonym Paeonia wittmaniana subsp. wittmaniana), one of the many species peonies from the Caucasus region, showed me its bloom today for the first time. A surprise decent yellow (I hadn't been reading the books lately): so yellow that when I saw it in the field a couple of days ago (different plant!, same seed batch) I mistook the flower for a mlokosewitschii (more on that one in a week or few). Leaves fuzzy on back, but pointy and greener than mloko. More vigorous, and more sun and drought tolerant than mloko.
Flowers open pale yellow and fade to ivory; they last about a week to 10 days. Stigmas and anther filaments are reddish purple. Leaves are large and lush, a good landscape plant. I expect another colourful show in fall when the seedpods ripen and fold open.
This species does well in the partial shade of the display beds near the house, and is also good but less vigorous in an open field and in my test bed in the woods. Flowering was first in the field, 2 days later in the display bed, and 4 days after that in the woods. This photo is of a group of 3 plants in the part-shade bed. Plants in the background are other species of peony which will flower later.