Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Today Paeonia peregrina stopped teasing me with its' huge buds and started to open. (just in time for a rain storm). Known as the Crimson-Flowered Peony, and sometimes as the "single red peony of Constantinople", this species is much used in hybridizing. It's native to southern Europe from southern Italy to western Turkey at elevations up to 1200m. Although this doesn't sound promising for extreme cold hardiness, but I learned this spring that it has grown well for many years at the Devonian Botanical Garden near Edmonton, Alberta: Zone 3 territory. However, although in its native range it grows in scrub and in woods, I have found that here in Nova Scotia it is unhappy in my woods, and less vigorous than most of the other species in the partially shaded display beds, but it has done best in the open field.

The first of my few tree peonies to bloom (and the only type with buds this year), the small but dark red flower of Paeonia delavayi. A shy critter which keeps its face pointing to the ground. All the literature that I had consulted indicated that this species would be unlikely to bloom here, and not much more likely to survive, period. But it has surprised me with a high survival rate and with at least one plant (of the several in pots) producing flowers each of the last 3 years. The flower is smaller than it appears in the photo; the golf ball ended up a few inches below the flower because I had to hold the stem upright and forgot about positioning the ball properly...

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