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Port Washington Garden Club


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This month in the garden...

 

"The best way to make sure you're removing a weed and not a valuable plant? If it comes out of the ground easily it's a valuable plant."

Anonymous

 

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This Month in the Garden (June 2009)

Although 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.

In 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.

Tree 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.

Tree 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. 

Herbaceous 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.


This Month in the Garden Archive:

November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July
2010
June 2010
May
2010

April 2010
March 2010
February 2010

January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April
2009

March 2009

 

Port Washington Garden Club, PO Box 492, Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
Registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization