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. 


  1. I'm a lot like you, I think that some jobs must be just so magical, until you sit right down and realize how much work they must be. I can't imagine how stressful it would be to know that weather or bugs or bunnies could determine my economic fate for the next week/month/year.

    Lovely peony pictures.

  2. Your banner photos are gorgeous! There's a lot to be said for making a living at something that you love to do. There are risks in any business venture a person takes. I think it's great that this couple has built up their business on their own. The peonies are again stunning. Wow! For some reason they just look good enough to eat! Have a great Canada Day weekend :) Wendy

  3. It's like the idea of being a restauranteur - sounds wonderful, but it's horribly taxing work. You must have a passion for what you are doing and this couple certainly must have a lot of it!!

    Jennifer, thanks for sharing this gorgeous nursery with us.

    Happy Canada Day!

  4. Oh I couldn't agree more, it must be so stressful when your livelihood depends on things like bugs and ever changing weather conditions. I LOVE the peonies!!!!xxxx

  5. You are so right - owning a nursery is hard! I did seasonal work for a nursery recently and it was eye-opening. Blossom Hill peonies are gorgeous! I wish I could visit in person.

  6. Beautiful all the peonies in this and the previous post, thank you!

    As with roses, I prefer the fragrant peonies, somehow no fragrance disappoint me when I walk past them in the garden. I have two peonies, one is beautiful, but has no scent at all, the other is less spectacular, but it is heaven to smell her ;-)

  7. The peonies are stunning - so many colours! But I can just imagine how hard it is for Joe and Carol to keep this nursery going: retirement should be a rest, instead Bob is now working a new full-time job. Carol has a full-time and part-time job. Bet they are exhausted by sundown!! But their flowers are beautiful and the care they take to make Blossom Hill such a high quality nursery is very easy to see. Bravo to them!

  8. Be still my heart! Peonies which I adore and love and sadly cannot grow. At least you gave me the treat of seeing all of these beautiful flowers ~ thank you.

  9. I tend to romanticize certain jobs too...having ones own nursery is one, having a B&B or owning a coffee shop...all are lots of hard work! The peonies are gorgeous. I need to add some to my garden. Thanks for the tip of ordering them now for fall planting!

  10. They are all my favorite, every single one of them! Your photography is outstanding. And gardening would be a tough way to earn a living. I'd be broke in a month.

  11. Your photos are stunning! Beautiful...
    Thank you for dropping by last month, sorry I'm late but I've been offline for a while. Hopefully I'll catch up soon, after the long weekend at least.
    I hope you have a wonderful Canada Day and safe happy long weekend.
    Debbie :)

  12. That would be so intense to have to manage life and all of those beautiful plants. I give them so much credit for the hard work that they put in....the variations are unbelievable!

  13. You are feeding an obsession of mine! I adore peonies!!!!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  14. I love the peonies you are sharing Jennifer. The strange thing is when I visit a nursery how much work it is for the owners. I always have the idea they are just enjoying like me. A wonderful post.
    Have a great weekend.

  15. Jennifer,
    you're right,growing any plants for a living is very tough job. But I think they love this job.
    The peonies are beautiful and your photos are great! I love most one 'Port Royal', nice shape and colors.
    Have a nice weekend!

  16. Beautiful - and I loooove peonies!

  17. That is an amazing selection of peonies, the perfume from them all must be delicious! We have quite a few already but seeing your lovely selection, I'm sure we can squeeze a couple more in!

  18. Oh my such gorgeous peonys I want them all...

  19. All of these are just gorgeous. I love the yellow one with the yellow roots!

  20. Stunning peonies...I have many but need to put them in more prominent locations...

  21. How stunning! sigh... So am now thinking of moving my yellow name unknown peony . Only one bloom this year. I should be ashamed of letting it languish. Thanks for the prod by showing me these beauties.

  22. Oh my gosh, Jennifer, you have given me a bad case of peony lust! These are all so beautiful; I would have a hard time choosing just one or two.

    Having grown up on a farm, I know how Mother Nature can affect one's livelihood--last year's drought was a perfect example of disaster for many farmers around here. But at least farmers don't have to worry about whether their beans or corn look "pretty"; nurseries like this one have even more to contend with to get these beauties to market.

  23. I love the selection of peonies in this garden. Looks like a lot of work for those two also, but what fun to be surrounded with all those beauties to cut.


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