Saturday, June 17, 2006
From the forests of Siberia- Paeonia obovata
Flowers of this species just opened today in my "datum" partial shade bed but have been open for 2 days in the woodland bed (usually plants in the woodland bed open a few days after those in the datum bed). I don't have any of this species in the open field. Photos were taken in the woods, because high winds elsewhere was blowing the flowers around too much to capture.
Photos of the flowers of obovata usually show a more flat open flower in softer pink or in white, but my dozen or more plants are all uniform in having flowers that retain the globular shape (those in the photos are as open as they get) and also in their dusty light rose colouring. Probably an issue of geographic origin of the seed: mine were grown from seed collected wild in forests near Vladivostok in Siberia.
Opulent foliage, late emerging compared to other species, green from day one until hard winter frosts. Note the ridiculously thin (or even emaciated) stems. Thin, but tough. These are the only peony stems that remain standing here through all the weight of wet winter snows. They do sometimes fold to high winds during the growing season, but apart from lying down the folded stems continue to perform their job as a food conduit.
Outstanding display from seed pods when they open in late summer, reds and blacks in interesting shapes which really illuminate the woods.
Paeonia obovata is native to a wide swath of Asia, including Siberia, Manchuria, China and Japan; it grows in woodlands and scrub in the mountains.
This is the last of my species to flower except Paeonia lactiflora, the progenitor of the Garden Peonies. Other than obovata, there are still blooms on veitchii and peregrina, and some of the lactiflora hybrid peonies have started to open. Soon the "pure lactiflora" cultivars of garden peonies will start as well and will give me peony flowers until about the 9th of July, give or take a few days.