Friday, June 28, 2013

The Red, the Whites and the Yellows

Mrs. Edward Harding: Perfect form of white. Blooms mid-season.

Though I have often fantasized that rolling out the door to work outside in summer would be simply amazing, in reality growing flowers for a living has got to be really tough job.

For me bugs, bunnies and other pests are an annoying nuisance. It would a much bigger issue if insects had left bullet holes in the flowers I hoped to send to market or the crop of perennials I had been cultivating for years was wiped out by some mysterious disease or natural disaster. It would take heartbreaking to a whole 'nother level.

Add to this the fact that Mother Nature likes to operate on whims. You never know what the weather will bring.

I got a small taste of how hard it must be when we dropped in to see Blossom Hill Nursery. Joe has retired to devote himself to work at the nursery full time. Hazel holds down a regular job and then comes home and works alongside her husband in the evening. 

After she finished watering young seedlings, she still had to cut peonies to fill an order from a florist on the evening we paid the nursery a visit. That's a long work day!

Let's take another wander through Joe and Hazel's fields of peonies and look at some of the beautiful red, yellow, coral and white flowers.

Coral Supreme

Legion of Honour: Semi-double, strong cherry-red with a golden centre. Blooms early.

Longfellow: Non-fading crimson red with golden stamens. Slightly fragrant. Blooms mid-season.

Port Royale: Japanese/anemone shaped peony that is a dark burgundy-red. Fragrant. 
Blooms mid-season

White Cap


Golden Wheel: Originally called Huang Jin Lun. A double yellow that even has yellow roots. Blooms mid-season. The catalogue warns that there are limited quantities of this peony available.

Mildred May: Semi-double pure white with a ring of golden stamens. Early mid-season.

Miss America: Semi-double, APS Gold Metal winner. Soft pink fades to white as the flower opens. Fragrant. Blooms early.

Orchid Annie: Double, very soft pink. Good foliage and upright habit. Blooms mid-season.

More information: 

The time to order peonies is mid-summer for fall planting. 
I have done my best to identify all the peonies that happened to catch my eye on the day of our visit, but if you want to order peonies for your garden, please confirm the identification is correct in the Blossom Hill picture gallery and catalogue. There is also lots more peonies to choose from there.

Blossom Hill Nursery specializes in delphiniums and peonies and is located near Peterborough in Ontario.  
They have over 600 varieties of peonies including species, tree, herbaceous and Itoh (Intersectional) peonies. Visitors are welcome at the nursery to view the perennial beds and gardens. Business hours are by appointment or chance. 

Happy Canada Day!

To all my Canadian friends, have a great Canada Day weekend eh!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Visit to Blossom Hill Nursery


It is not hard to guess where Blossom Hill Nursery got its name. 

From a vantage point in many of the fields of peonies there is a rather spectacular view of the rolling countryside just outside of the city of Peterborough, Ontario. 

The week before last, hubby had a few days of vacation and we had decided to do a little summer road trip to the Peterborough area.  He had scoped out a few antique shops and I added a stop at Blossom Hill Nursery to list of places we hoped to visit.  

Blossom Hill is a nursery that specializes in growing peonies and delphiniums. They have over 600 varieties of peonies including species, tree, herbaceous and Itoh (Intersectional) peonies.

Now, I know what some of you must be wondering: what would someone who already has a good number of peonies ever be wanting with more? 

Beautiful though they are, most of my peonies are 3 or 4 varieties only. I have no singles, no white, yellow or red peonies for instance. In the near future, I would like to add a bit more diversity and maybe even extend the short season for peonies with both early and late blooming varieties.

When we finally arrived at the nursery it was rather late in the day. Dinner hour in fact. Joe and Hazel Cook could easily have said "we're closed", but instead they kindly allowed me to wander around and take pictures to my heart's content.

I thought I had died and had gone to peony heaven!

As well as the fields of the peonies and delphiniums they grow, 
the nursery also a number of display gardens.

Columbine, Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow'

Why shop in person? 

Well, there is nothing like seeing a flower in the flesh to give you a true appreciation of its shape, color, fragrance and growing habits. 

Here are just a few of the pink varieties that caught my eye:

Jay Hawker: Lactiflora Double Light Pink. Stiff stems. Moderate Fragrance. Mid-Season.

Mons. Jules Elie: Double rose-pink. Large guard petals with a well defined centre. Mid-season.

Irene May Gilbert

Faith Fenton

Top left: Souv. L. Bigot Top right: Raspberry Sundae 
Bottom left: Garden Lace Bottom right: Show Girl

First Arrival: This peony had one of the largest flowers I saw growing in the fields. It was huge! Intersectional, semi-double lavender pink flower on a compact dark green plant. Mid-season. Be fore-warned this one's expensive.

Above and below: Clown: Single bright pink surrounding yellow stamens. Fragrant. Mid-season.

Lady Alexandra Duff: A double blush pink with light petals in the centre. 
Slightly fragrant. Mid-Season.

In an upcoming post, I will show you some of the yellow, white and red varieties of peonies.

More Information and Links:

Tips on Growing Peonies:  Peonies are long lived perennials and so it is worth the effort to prepare the site well before you plant. Peonies prefer a sunny, well-drained site. Dig a hole larger than the root and amend the soil with compost or bonemeal.  The crown buds of herbaceous peonies should be no more than 2 inches below the surface of the soil. If planted too deep, they may not flower for several years. If you mulch your garden, do not put mulch over the crown. In September, cut the foliage off and remove it from the garden to prevent the spreading of any disease or fungus.  (Excerpted From Blossom Hill Nursery website) 

Blossom Hill Nursery specializes in delphiniums and peonies and is located near Peterborough in Ontario.  
They have over 600 varieties of peonies including species, tree, herbaceous and Itoh (Intersectional) peonies. Visitors are welcome at the nursery to view the perennial beds and gardens. Business hours are by appointment or chance. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It is about time!

It is about time I did a post on the flowers in my own garden!

An ant ended up in the middle of my bouquet of peonies. Poor thing was in such a panic.

Gas Plant, Salvia and a spirea in the background.


White flowers of a Deutzia

Meadow Rue

Soft Purple and Mauve colored Dame's Rocket

The boys send their regards.

I am going to link this post to the Cottage Garden Party at Fishtail Cottage 
and Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time. To see other pretty gardens, click the links.