Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peonies to Die For!

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Ambience'

Even before most roses dazzle us with their flowers, there are peonies. With their big, showy blossoms, and if your lucky, a soft hint of fragrance, peonies have a definite stage presence in early summer.

If only they lasted longer! My peonies last a week, maybe a week and a half. Then, they are green into late fall. 

Here in Ontario, peonies are just starting to come in flower and it is time to get out there and admire these scene stealers while you still can.

With that in mind, I popped into the Royal Botanical Gardens on Saturday to take in the show. 

And it did not disappoint. Let's take a look together:

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Mr. Thim'

If you are going to go with ruffled and frilly blooms, you might as well consider choosing pink! There were lots of pretty pink peonies to choose from.

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Cora Stubbs'

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Coral Tide'


Looking one way.


And another.

I wanted to show you a few overall shots. Massed pink, white and red flowers were statement making. Note that in the first image, the blue and purple irises make a nice backdrop.

Also interesting to note that none of these peonies were staked. I am not sure what the field of flowers would look like after a rain storm, but in the bright light of a sunny day, the flowers were holding their own.


I hope you will forgive me for digressing for just a moment. One of my latest amusements is to photograph other photographers.

I thought that this couple were charming.


Ladies don't we all secretly wish we all could bring a man to his knees in such rapt admiration! 

Too often, we think of the early days of a romance, when we think of love. 

This is not a young couple, yet he obviously adores her. I find that truly romantic.

I have another reason for showing this shot here. While I find the limited mix of peony colors above pleasing, I find this unedited mix of iris colors unattractive. There are just too many colors here and not all of them work together. 

What do you think?

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Ambience'

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Coral Supreme'

These shots came out a bit pinker than they should be. Perhaps it was the blazing sun on this particular afternoon. Coral describes them perfectly! 'Coral Supreme' are definitely going on my wish list!

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Coral Supreme' up close

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Do Tell'

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Honey Gold'



Red is so tough to photograph and is well beyond my skill set, but know that there were some beautiful reds to be seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Red Imp' 

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Red Imp' up close

Unidentified Tree Peony

Tree Peony, Paeonia suffruticosa 'Hakuoo'

I took a number of shots of tree peonies, but for whatever reason the plants were not as carefully identified as the other peonies at the RBG. I hate to tempt you too many pictures that are unidentified! Tree peonies are larger and taller than standard herbaceous peonies. These plants were definitely staked.

My favourite was this white Tree Peony called 'Hakuoo'. Gorgeous! The flower petals make me think of ocean waves.

40 comments:

  1. Those peonies are super pretty. I even went and got the peep so that she could see them 'cause I just knew she'd love 'em. The peep grows a few herself and she's always lookin' for ones that smell like roses. She has a few but, apparently, they're hard to find. I know this 'cause I hear her grumbling 'bout it a lot. What we cats have to put up with... never ceases to amaze me. Anyway, pretty smells or not, they sure do look gorgeous! purrs

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  2. Oh, what a gorgeous collection !!! Beautiful shots, Jennifer !!!

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  3. Jennifer,I loved your pictures of different peonies! I took some photos of peonies, too. They are so beautiful, and the couple that is taking photos is beautiful, they love nature.

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  4. Hermosas flores, preciosas imágenes!! Un abrazo.

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  5. For some reason I have never grown peonies, but I have seen so many beautiful pics of them on blogs that I think I will introduce them to our garden next year. 'Do Tell' looks very pretty, and I do like 'Ambience' very much.

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  6. I'm enjoying the peonies,as well, and love the scent of bouquets brought inside.(There is a Peony Festival here each June, but I can't help but think those ones will be gone by then.) Gorgeous photos; I was really struck by the coral one.

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  7. I find peonies very exquisite, sometimes even more exquisite than a rose. I have artificial peonies at home [ used for home decor]. Here the colors are so lovely.
    The aged couple is truly romantic-they are blessed to have each other !
    have a lovely day!
    love,
    Sanghamitra

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  8. Wanted to add: {Got lost viewing the Peonies !}
    Jennifer, your flower photography truly amazes me, you can capture the flowers in all its beauty and magnificence, these photos are so lively-sometimes, I feel I am in the garden rather than viewing them in the internet.
    Keep up the good work !
    love,
    Sanghamitra

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  9. *Sigh*

    Your flower pics always are so gorgeous! :-)

    (Blogger acted up so feel free to delete if there´s suddenly two comments from me)

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  10. Thanks so much for sharing your visit. The flowers are wonderful. I didn't realize there were so many varieties.

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  11. Lovely peonies, so beautiful, so fleeting, but the garden is so much better for them. They certainly are the star performers in the garden and worth waiting 11 months for them.

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  12. Hi Jennifer,

    As a child my favorite flower was the peony. They lined our small yard andd were cared for tenderly by my garden mentor (my aunt). I held a bouquet of them for my eight grade graduation, photo somewhere. I have only a couple of plants now, just no room if I want to grow other things. I am considering doing a few of the tree peonies because they will take up less room.

    Eileen

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  13. Stunning! I can see that I will be pinning most of these to my board for future reference (additions to my garden, which lies just around the corner).

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  14. Gorgeous! One of the great things about places like the RBG is the multitude of blossoms all identified. I was so lucky to be part of the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens and their fabulous peony collection (over 350 varieities). It was always one of my favorite places to visit.

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  15. Jennifer - you are an amazing photographer! These pictures are really beautiful. You've captured the true spirit of peonies. I found it amazing that you said none of them were staked. Mine are behind a supportive wire but because they grew so tall, they have flopped over anyway. And the heat has made them explode. Well, not all of them. I still have quite a few that should last till next week since it's cooling down for the weekend. I agree with you about the Iris grouping being unattractive. I have never cared for brown iris and I think those are the ones that don't fit with the group. Anyway - glad you got such terrific shots of a fleeting group of flowers.

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  16. I was just thinking about my peonies today and wondering whether they are worth al the room they take up for the short bloom period. The jury is stil out

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  17. Showstoppers! I can't believe the peonies weren't staked. Even in warm sunny weather the big ones get floppy. The RBG has them well behaved!

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  18. What a gorgeous display of peonies!! It is too bad the display doesn't last longer, but they are so beautiful I feel one must forgive them this transgression.

    In the photo with the couple among the iris -- I agree both that the couple is charming and that is some mismatching of color there. The cool blues don't really go with the bright yellows and warm dark reds. I have a dark red iris that I love but keep it separate from most of my other cool-toned iris.

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  19. Oh swoon. The frillier the better in my view. Old fashioned blowsiness at its best.

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  20. I love peonies... we have a fair number but most are the same kind - you have such a variety and they are spectacular! My only regret with peonies is that they bloom for such a short time. But the foliage does look nice all summer.

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  21. What a beautiful garden and so inspiring. I too love peonies. I have them all over my garden. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.

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  22. Jennifer, I have never seen so many different colors of peonies!
    I absolutely love the pink and white ones.
    Like you, I do wish they lasted longer, but then again, maybe we would not appreciate them as much.
    Your photographs are absolutely gorgeous!
    Wishing you a beautiful day!

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  23. Oh so lovely. Its hard to pick a favourite!

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  24. So beautiful! How lucky you are to have a botanical garden with such a wonderful, large collection of peonies. That Coral Supreme is probably my favorite, and Red Imp. May have to add a few more to my garden... thanks!

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  25. The photos are lovely. I especially like the photos of the "red imp." Thanks for showing the irises planted with the peonies. I've been researching companion plants for peonies and irises seem to be a good choice.

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  26. Thanks Jennifer for the wonderful set of photos. I'm entranced by peonies and would love to add a few to my gardens. Do Tell and Red Imp really caught my attention. I heard somewhere that you can't plant different coloured peonies together as the colour will change but that obviously isn't an issue here.

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    1. Hello Marquerite
      Different coloured peonies can most certainly be planted together and will not change colour. If you are looking for Japanese types try ordering online. There are many growers who will ship direct to your door at planting time.
      Hope you find what you want Good Luck and enjoy

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  27. I love peonies and your photographs show them off wonderfully. I have a yellow tree peony that is flowering for the first time this year - after waiting three years - it isn't staked as the stems are very woody and it supports itself.

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  28. My peonies are just starting to bloom. I bought 'Do Tell' last year, it has no flowers buds, maybe next year. They are one of favourite spring blooms.

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  29. Your photos are amazing. I especially like your first, the lighting is stunning. I don't think we have peonies here- I've never seen one (that I know of).

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  30. I want peonies! Many do not do well this far south, but some do, and I am determined to have a small display one day. Your photos are outstanding and show these gorgeous flowers at their best. The irises are also beautiful. I love your photo of the older couple. They remind me of an elderly couple I came across at a local garden who were sitting on a bench holding hands.

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  31. They're all so gorgeous Jennifer. It makes me want to add more to my garden. They are almost done blooming here & I miss them already. The Coral peony is gorgeous ~ I planted 'Coral charm' last year (which I think you saw?) and I can't wait to see it again next spring. It is my favorite too so I see why you liked this one. I'd love to add a couple more tree peonies but I'm running out of space!

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  32. They're all so beautiful! I used to have over a dozen peonies in the garden when I first designed it but pulled them all out and gave them away except for one. The foliage was always mildewy and hideous by mid-summer. I really love the white ones and 'Coral Charm'. I left the one peony that was the happiest and look forward to its blooms all winter. :o)
    Digging up the sod was the hardest part of creating the rain garden. It's such a pain in the butt! A water wiggler is a little device that wiggles the water through a rotating spinner under a decorative cover. Moving water discourages mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the water and attracts birds. I bought it from Amazon. It uses 2 batteries and has a decorative ceramic cover.

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    1. Thanks Tammy, I am going to look for a water wiggler online.

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  33. I LOVE peonies! You show so many of my favorites here. This weekend is The Peony Festival in Van Wert, OH, which used to be known as The Peony Capital of the World. There was much hybridizing done here and there were big peony farms. Needless to say, it's not hard to find peonies growing in our area. Ours were way ahead of schedule this year though, so most of them are finishing up their blooming now.

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  34. What gorgeous flowers! I only wish they would grow in my zone. I tried 'Festiva Maxima' which is supposed to do well in warmer climates and it didn't make it either so I will just enjoy your photos!

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  35. I got dizzy from all this beauty! Honestly. Absolutely fantastic! I can't even say what is my favorite. And I almost can feel their aroma. Thank you SO much for these tour, Jennifer!

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  36. What incredible peonies! I can hardly wait for mine to open! The romance shot is so very charming, thank you for posting it. As for the Irises, beauty as always is in the eye of the beholder, but I think it would be much more pleasing without the wine coloured ones interspersed with the cooler hues.

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  37. Fantastic photograph, beautiful flowers, sensational places. I am greeting

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  38. Absolutely fantastic, thanks so much for the tour! :)

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