This Month in the Garden (June 2009)
old-fashioned peonies can flop in summer storms it doesn’t mean
gardeners should miss these dramatic flowers. There are several
different types of peonies and gardeners can enjoy them for weeks as
spring turns into summer.
early May the earliest fern-leaf peonies are opening their brilliant red
blooms in Port Washington. These
are small plants, usually under 24,” have finely cut foliage that has
a rubbery texture. In hot,
dry summers, the plant may completely disappear and become dormant.
The double-flowered forms open about a week later than the
singles and both are excellent additions to rock gardens.
peonies begin to blossom before the last fern-leaf flowers fade.
Some like pink ‘Seidai’ are more than 10 inches in diameter -
a single flower floated in a bowl makes a spectacular center piece.
The woody trunks on these shrubs stand bare all winter unlike
herbaceous peony stems that die back to the ground each autumn.
peonies are now grafted on herbaceous peony roots making them more
affordable to gardeners. They
come in a wide range of colors including yellows and golds rarely found
in herbaceous forms. A
mature plant will produce dozens of flowers.
peonies like ‘Kansas,’ ‘Raspberry Sherbet’ and the old-fashioned
classic ‘Fiesta Maxima’ carry the Port peony season into June.
Ants harvest the sweet, sticky substance that covers the flower
buds but their presence isn’t necessary for the blossoms to open and
the flowers aren’t damaged by the ants.
The blossoms are perfumed and a bouquet will carry the scent of
summer into the house. Just
be sure to check the cut flowers outside so stray ants don’t make the
trip indoors with the flowers.
Botrytis blight, a fungal disease, can overwinter and damage emerging shoots in the spring so the garden should be cleaned of all spent peony foliage in the autumn. Botrytis appears as a gray mold and can blast buds and is particularly likely when the weather is cool and wet.
Port Washington Garden Club, PO
Box 492, Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
Registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization