I wonder if anyone has suggestions for their favorite very dark peony? I'm trying to put some "edge" into my garden with some nearly black flowers. So far I'm considering Chocolate Soldier, John Harvard, and Mahogany, among others. I do have a Buckeye Belle which is dark red, but I'm hoping to go even darker in a peony that is not too fussy or hard to grow.
Darn. I just went to Adelman's. Have bought from them before and saw Chocolate Soldier but took a pass. Now with the discussion above I went and looked at both of the. I will be traveling down there in May and was thinking I could just pick one up. What am I thinking? I have two coming this fall from Reath's and will probably have to dig up 'something' in my garden to make room for them! So many gorgeous colors and forms and sooooo little garden space.
I agree that Black Dragon looks great and very inviting in the photo. The Peony Envy catalog looks very very appealing all around. I have read that singles that are dark in color stand up better in hot sun than the doubles which might need a little sun protection. I don't know if there are any more New England flower shows left this late in the season to get good deals, but I want one! I want to fill my yard with peonies...
Dark peonies especially the tree ones do better in light shade. The flowers last longer because they do not absorb as much heat from the sun when planted where they can be screened especially during the bloom season.
Thanks from me too. Seems there will be much to learn about the herbacious dark ones as well to to get some dark "trees" in the spots with afternoon shade. For example, the dark color is desired, but so is a vigorous plant. I'm also trying to consider whether the darkest ones will be better in my "red" garden, which has room now that we had to remove a large tree, or with the mixed lavenders and pinks and blushes in another area. It helps to see them in bloom and I haven't! The answer is probably both places. It is sooo hard to be patient and wait for some blooms on a mystery peony (very vigorous growth of foliage in the gallon pot) that the historical society gave me during a peony hunt at their plant sale last year. I'm hoping it will be a dark variety, or at least red, considering the leaves are dark, the stems retained their red color all season , and there was even some red veining on the leaves. I didn't use my camera last year as I was so busy planting!
Plant where the foliage looks best. You can not go by the coloration of the foliage when it is opening in the spring. Off the top of my head I can not remember the name but there are several peonies that have very yellow green foliage as the season progresses. Which then leads to watching the foliage all season for the various changes. Some have leaves that split naturally and others expand without splitting. The ones that split always seem to have the best flowers but should be planted to blend in rather than to stand out in the garden as cutting foliage too early can reduce the number of flowers as the foliage feeds the roots.
I won't get into the fall colors some peonies have for now.
Thanks for the suggestion, Ah3815. To continue your thought, the peony Picotee has a pale pink blossom and bright red stems and dark green leaves, so that might be my mystery plant too. Of my current plants, the mystery plant is also the only one with vivid fall leaf color. Indeed, an interesting quality. If there's a dark single peony with yellow-green foliage, that would be a must have!
I have Chocolate Soldier though no bloom last year (first year) but it is budded out this year so we'll see.
I have several Hot Chocolates...one of my absolute favorites...this plant had about 10 blooms last year and I counted 22 buds this year, which is I think year four. And it absolutely does not fade at all...even in Texas' sun and heat. Fairly late bloomer for me relative to the other peonies. Really a great peony. Striking with the yellow lilies. This is last year's pic.
Hi Rosemary and thank you!! I think the lily is "London". This photo is from May 1, 2010. We are off-set from a typical zone 5 garden by about a month...meaning any given plant will usually bloom about a month earlier here. That was the case with my mom's garden up in Illinois, which was 5b I think. Hopefully you could achieve the same timing and have no doubt you'll come up with something beautiful. I really do recommend HC if you're willing to try it. I think I got the one in the attached pic from Klehm and have several others I planted in the last year or two from Hollingsworth. All are budding up so I expect blooms within three weeks or so. Klehm advertised HC as an early peony and Hollingsworth said it was late; I have to say that Hollingsworth's statement was correct at least for me...this is one of my last ones to bloom.
Thanks Becky...I went overboard on the HC's since I like them so much, probably added 6 more over the past two years. They will look really great once they get some maturity. Maybe one will find its way to your house this fall :-)
BTW I moved your daylilies into my newer bed last fall...they looked spectacular in the large pot I had them in and now I want to see what they really can do.
Steve, are all the HC's from the same source? One of my pet ideas is that the same cultivar from different sources will be slightly different. Perhaps not in flower but in leaf and stem structure. It is something in the different growing conditions and soil type that makes a difference. After several years they adapt to your soil conditions.
Alana, I have some from Klehm and some from Hollingsworth. They are in different beds so I know which are which. The "newer" ones are from Hollingsworth as they just offered it a couple of years ago and Klehm typically alternates years in terms of what they sell I guess to build up inventory. Both seem to bloom well and I will note differences I see in structure. I will say the "H" peonies seem to have much higher bud counts for this variety first year...Klehm's were generally one or two flowers first year and Hollingsworth's were four or five. both seem to grow well and the Klehm plants, in the ground longer, have multiplied eyes/stems/flowers and have expanded well. You make some interesting points so I will observe and let you know what particular things I find.
Ah, interesting what you say about differences. I was at a peony outing at Klehm's and the Adelmans (lovely people) were there and brought their peonies. The Adelmans' peonies were saturated with color. Others had very fine peonies but they didn't compare. I had some of the same peonies in my garden and the differences were incredible. Their flowers were 50% larger than mine. Clearly the soil made the difference. Others remarked on it. I'm wondering if those amazing peonies would "return to planet earth" if I moved them to my garden.
Donna, that makes sense; I hear that lilies and other plants grown in that region have deeper colors as well. Might be soil but also sun intensity. Cloudy or overcast days will help deepen the color, too. Our sun is so intense it tends to bleach many things.
There is a physical difference between the roots from the three companies, also. Adelman roots tend to have one or two very thick, long almost "taproots" and few side roots or offshoots. Klehm's are much shallower and there are many more of them and the individual roots are smaller but the root ball from Klehm is wider around. Hollingsworth's are somewhere between the two but somewhat closer to Klehm's. The absolute biggest sets of roots I got all came from Adelman. Can'r really see much difference in number of eyes or flower development. If anything the Hollingsworth peonies seem to have the highest first-year budcounts. All three seem to do equally well over time.
Wonder if like you say they morph into a state typical for the geographic area they're in over time.
Ah, that explains the difference in the roots I've seen. Some of them have the eyes so far up the stalk that you have to dig halfway to China to get them properly situated. Those are the ones I tend to install so deeply that they don't bloom for years. But that has to do with my own ineptitude, not the roots.
I suspect that they come back down to earth in our soil and heat. Maybe they should send a few gallons of soil with the peonies (can you imagine the shipping costs?)
LOL Donna your comment about digging to China made me crack up...I had the same experience esp. with the Adelman roots. The Bartzella and Cream Puff I got from them were so huge and the eyes so spread out that I had to situate it diagonally just to a) have a hole deep enough and at the same time b) keep the eyes close enough to the surface as required here when the seemed to be spread out on all sides of the root. I think where the Adelman peonies are grown they must have a much deeper topsoil. I will say the Klehm and Hollingsworth plants are easier to plant. Can't say that the Adelman roots necessarily generate more flowers but that big root mass has to make for a strong plant. To be honest I would rather have more small flowers (relatively) on a plant than just a few big ones. If your showing them, the large ones would be more important but the masses of small ones make for a better show. I look at my plants that are three and four years old (I have not been doing peonies en masse as long as many of you...my oldest plant at this house has been here five years) and I see no difference in flower quality or quantity per plant.
Five years! I'm really surprised that your oldest peony was only installed five years ago. According to my records, my earliest one (Festiva Maxima, of course!) was installed in 2001). I always thought that you had been growing them forever. Of course, you are referring to your CURRENT house, cause I know you threw wild peony parties at your earlier house in Texas and probably when you were up north.
Those awkward roots were actually better for me. I had so much trouble getting them to where I thought they were supposed to be (two inches deep - which is too deep here) that they came up quickly. I have peonies that have been in the ground five plus years without showing a peep, simply because it took that long for the excess soil to wash away.
I agree that I'd rather have more smaller flowers. But now I understand why some of my peonies are so sumptuous. How time flies - they're ten years old!
Adelman's is in the Willamette Valley. The valley is formed between two mountain ranges which contain several volcanos including Mt Hood. The last glaciers would have released their soils and various minerals down the valley since the Columbia River was the southern limit. All these combine to make a good base for growing many plants.
If any of you are going to the APS meeting you need to leave at least one or two extra days for shopping and if you are flying either bring an extra large suitcase or plan on purchasing a new one once you know how much room you need. Include some large plastic bags, I use the 1 and 2 gallon ones.
You should not take any of the soil home but rely on planting material since the virburnims from the area in middle Oregon have been found to have a problem that could effect your oaks.
For you history buffs the area is rich in history. To my joy it is also within couple of hours drive to the ocean depending which route you drive, wine or no wine.
OK., that does it! I've gotten peonies from just about every other source. Now I'll have to get my next order from Adelman's. The roots of charm and coral peonies I got from The Peony Farm in Sequim Washington last fall have been super growing athletes already. On the Adelman's list for the dark ones , I see Hot Chocolate, John Harvard, Chocolate Soldier, and... has anyone ever grown President Lincoln? That's just their herbacious list. Black Panther is there too, I think. Course there are other beautiful colors to buy. Is it possible to get too many peonies on one's property? as in when they warned us not to plant all ash, or elm or hemlock trees because they could all spread disease? I'm watching for mildew or boitritis (sp?), but who knows? Are others using any helpful fungi or nemotodes for peony?
that does it! I am having my husband's putting green dug up. that will give me room for maybe another dozen peonies. And he won't care as he has used it exactly once if four years. Says he won't retire until I am gone (explanation: I am quite a bit older than he) and he can putt then. lol
The former owners had 3 tree peonies and about a dozen herbaceous peonies when we moved in 2005 (mostly pink double peonies). We've added at least eighteen herbaceous peonies, mostly singles and Japanese. We are in love with peonies.
Interesting, cathy...I have mostly Japanese and singles too though do have several doubles now. Another good dark variety is Port Royale - not as dark as Hot Chocolate but still really nice. This pic was taken May 2, 2010.
I think I'm going to have to turn an entire area over to every kind of dark red peony. My kids don't need to play badmitten or basketball anywhere! If we had a putting green like mstella's I'd probably sacrifice that too!
Rosemary, you'd asked about President Lincoln...found this opened today. It is GORgeous! LOL Think you would really like it. Has a more double form that the seller's website (Adelman) made me think it would. Huge flowers.
I finally got the snow off my lemon chiffon. Or rather the one in the back yard. Front yard is always slower as the sun doesn't come around there until later. One whole bed with four peonies is still under about 10" of snow. Red Charm, Julia Rose are also out from under snow but sitting in mud. Amazes me that they don't rot but I guess the ground is still solid and it doesn't seem to bother them as they grow each year really well. Tree peony bases are drying out. No standing water and out in the sun. Lots of buds but not sure what will happen due to mouse damage to stems.
I agree on the strange differences in zones. We are looking at 64F in the sun right now. My cold frame was up to 101 in the sun. It cools off really fast. I think the deal is that the sun is further away from us, so we may have light, but it is a distant cooler light. Texas has it beating down right on their heads. And you are somewhere in between.
yeah Donna...and just a week ago it was low as low 40's at night. Jacked up - seriously.
And wow...just checked Monday's forecast - 79 high 42 low. Then 82 and 81 for Tues and Wed highs. At least that's somewhat pleasant.
Mstella is right. When I lived in northern Europe, not too different in latitude from southern Alaska, the sun is different. Bright and long days in summer but it is a much "cooler" sun and doesn't even approach the intensity we feel here in TX. When the sun comes out here, even in April, it is HOT relative to other places. I have fair skin and can go out in TX even in March and have a sunburn in 15 or 20 minutes.
Bluegrassmom, no they're not all fragrant. Only some of mine are. You tend to see more fragrance in the old fashioned ones and doubles as opposed to singles, but some of the bombs are nicely fragrant and not all of the doubles are. I love them all though!
I have (or at least HAD when I was younger) red hair and freckles. So I can burn even in our sun. In mid summer, when it does manage to his 65-70, I have to go indoors in late afternoon. I turn red as a beat and start feeling pretty yukky. In Fairbanks (interior) we would see +90F in the summer. We are lucky to see 75F a couple of times a year here in Anchorage. But no -50F so I guess it's a fair trade. Plus I have peonies blooming in July and August. lol
I agree. New thread. And I agree about the burn in Hawaii. I went to Oahu years ago, burnt to a crisp. The cab driver taking us to the airport to go to Mauii said he had seen people not as badly burned a me who ended up in the hospital. I was blistered from neck to toes. then went to Mauii and did it all over again. My husband the other couple we were with all had darker skin and could stay out in it all day and I was just trying to keep up. NEVER again. I still have scars. Course, all those pina colada's had nothing to do with it. lol
What shall the new thread be about? Anyway, I have loved all the pics and comments about dark peonies, so I hope folks will keep posting those ANYWHERE in the peony forum. After Steve's pic of President Linclon, I'm disregarding the photo in Adelman's and hoping it'll grow nearly as well in the Boston area. And a peony that blooms with queen of the night tulips would be fun too. I'm starting to wonder, what's the best showstopping bright red peony other than Red Charm...?
Wish peonies were in bloom longer. Around here peonies are known as Memorial Day blooms. The tree peonies are out usually a couple of weeks earlier. Unless our peonies start growing as soon as it gets a bit warmer, they'll be blooming later this year.
I think that all of the single peonies have sprouted but are not an inch high. All the peonies that were in the yard when we moved in have yet to show much interest. The tree peonies have been growing for a couple of weeks and are actually showing interest in a future. What I love about them is that this week I'll be able to tell exactly which ones will be blooming, because they show their buds so early.
Well, the peony forum may make peonies bloom longer online anyway. As a newbie this year, I am really delighted to see the different climates doing their stuff. Made me check out the book : Palms Won't Grow Here... because there are hardy Southern Magnolias and hardy camellias to grow near the peony gardens as well, and why should a little zone stop us?
Sorry about the request for the new thread...I was getting this one confused with the other, long one.
Rosemary, you are so right. I struggle with magnolias and camellias here and know people up north who can grow magnolias as they live in a protected micro-zone. I always like a challenge, but even if we can't grow something we can live vicariously through others.
Always wanted Astilbes but they just don't seem to like it here.
I'm glad you moved into peony 2011 II Steve, and no offense taken. With your lush gardens, you don't need astilbes. I find them to be overrated because they require so much water. Just keep feeding us your inspiration.
You have got me drooling for some dark peonies! They would be perfect in a bed of mixed color oriental poppies that I just started last year.
I seem to be having trouble locating the dark peonies at peonyparadise. What category are they in?
I use peonyparadise too, Caitlin. Additionally, I think the Adelman's website makes it easy to find them by color (as steve said, perhaps under red). Some peony growers do sell roots that aren't listed in their catalogs too. With phone ordering I've used Buck'sCanyon to talk about what else they have had. These are all DG rated places.
Caitlin, are they shipping now or in the fall? I am going to visit them end of May and was hoping they would let me take one home with me. Well, take something home. but by then they won't be dormant. they will sell them in pots but I can't very well take a pot on the plain. Can you just see it going through the xray. I bought a stone cat on one trip; about the size of a large shoe box and weighed maybe 20#. There was much conversation about it before they let me carry it on the plain. The cat was sitting up with a trowel in one paw and a flower in the other. HAD to have it for my garden.
If the APS meeting is like normal there will be an opportunity to bid on peonies and possibility other other plants at the after dinner auction. Some are common plants but some should be not found in commerce unless you know who to contact.
Some will be in pots, some in bags, and some to be sent in the fall. You should email Carol to see if she still has some in storage.
At the PNW spring meeting is any example there will be plants from Klehm's, potted tree peonies from Rick Rogers, and from the other growers. Since several growers have retired or removed from the business their stock has been dispursed and hopefully some of those plants will show up.
There are many other nurseries in the area for shopping that will ship to you or package so you can put in your luggage, which is what I normally do. A 27 inch suitcase can hold a lot of plants.
thanks. I had originally wanted to attend the national meeting but couldn't coordinate it with my daughter so will only be driving through several nurseries, including Schreiners, Adlemans, and Swan Dahlias. Would love to zag over to Washington to visit a koi dealer I have been corresponding with but can only do so much. I will ask Carol about 'bagging' a couple for me.
I just purchased Mahogany from Hiddensprings flower farm in MN. The listing says the bush is rather light green, so there's a perfect spot for it. Their descriptions of the plants show a lot of detail and affection for them. I also got Alexander Wolcott which is a dark red and August Dessert for a dark pink older cultivar(and to keep Marguerite Dessert company LOL). I can't order from Adelman's yet because I want too many! Also, I'm trying to learn about lutea hybrids so I don't buy a yellow that's the size of a soccer field. That should look good with the mahogany colored ones. Lemon Chiffon is out of my price range.
ah3815, I will send my email address and cell to you and perhaps we can meet up 'on the side.' We will be driving down from Portland Thursday (I think) have to go check and can pretty much do what we want. My only goal that day is to get to Schreiners and Adelman's for sure. And any other gardens we hear about that we can hit in a 20 hour period.
I will be there on Thursday. Sent you a message. For me a must is Heirloom Roses even if you don't purchase anything as they have a series of gardens that bloom through out the season. If you have time stop by Brooks Gardens on the way to Adelman's, they should have a sign out. They grow a large number of Molly's and have historic iris's and old tree peonies. The tree peonies may or may not be in bloom but looking at the different plant structures and leaves can give you suggestions on types.
I believe, now that I think about it, that I ordered some roses from Heirloom Roses. Didn't know exactly where they were. Have made notes on Brooks Gardens. thanks for the tips. I also sent you a response.
Interesting list. I am seeing growth on my new Highlight and Peter Brand from the above list. I haven't seen the other three on popgeo's top list growing anywhere yet, but would love to. I am also seeing growth on Chocolate Soldier. Thanks for sharing. I hope you post some. In my dark peony area there is always a question of some shade, so I haven't tried President Lincoln and some other lactifloras for only that reason, though they look scrumptuous.
I said I'd post when my darker peonies bloomed. Most are in bud, but here's Alex Woolcott which I find has a captivating garnet-like color, and John Harvard in the last two, which is quite dark, and has managed to stay in bloom for over a week and still going.
I find that choosing a dark red peony is, for some reason, a major challenge. I ordered a Paul M. Wild, which never showed. I ordered Pfeiffer's Red Triumph, and the root was so tiny that five years later it hadn't showed, and I was given a Kansas by mistake. For me, and I think Setve too, Kansas always struggled, and is a tenth of the size of the peonies I ordered at the same time from the same company. And then some reds are cherry, or purple. I really lucked out when Steve gave me Burma Joy. It is doing very well in a semi shady section of my new yard. I'm thinking of adding another. It pops in the shade, but in a subtle, elegant way.
Know what you mean, Donna. To me the trick is to find some reds that can tolerate some shade and also send that deep clear red color message. Most of my dark ones had to go into a temporary spot when I hit too many rocks last year, so they will be moved I think in fall. I think it's Blaze that seems to handle the shade, and it looks darker than if in the sun (pic later).I ordered Paul Wild, but its not blooming and Burma Joy has been on my list to acquire, but not until I get past the boulders and ancient building foundations underground. Peregrina only sent up a few weak leaves in its one year anniversary this spring. I was hoping that would work in the shady area, but maybe its hybrids will do better.