In this post, our colleague, Dutch landscape designer, Harry Pierik, shares artistic photos and talks about peonies from his personal garden, The Hidden City Garden.
While the vanes of the dove tree, Davidia involucrata, are swaying on the branches in my Hidden City Garden, the first botanical peonies are starting to flourish.
Peonies are perennials of the ranunculus family, with tuberous, fleshy roots and beautiful foliage but it is their flowers that especially speak to the imagination!
For good flowering, the eyes of the rhizomes should not be planted deeper than a few centimeters, in nutritious, humus-rich, well-drained soil in a light spot.
In January 2012, it was pretty hot in Holland. It looked like we might go from a mild winter and slip straight into an early spring. But suddenly the whip of severe frost (-70 F) destroyed a lot of plants.
Some peonies were already so far into development, so full of moisture and little hardened against the cold, that above ground parts were severely damaged.
Under normal conditions peonies are resistant to -70F. But during this frigid time, the stems snapped like frozen water pipes. The leaves, which looked like cooked endive, lay on the ground.
Paeonia mlokosewitchii is a peony from the Caucasus. She has blue-green frosted leaves and reddish stems with soft yellow, cup-shaped flowers that are reminiscent of a butterball. Between her ocher yellow stamens are light pink pistils.
Her popular name, Molly-The-Witch, is a degeneration of its more difficult scientific name, Paeonia mlokosewitchii.
She usually blooms in my garden during the first week of May. Depending on the temperature, the bloom lasts about ten days.
Meanwhile I have two young Molly-The-Witches planted. I am now waiting to see how they mature.
Paeonia wittmanniana var. tomentosa is a perennial plant with velvety carpels that grows in alpine meadows of the Caucasus.
The robust cross between P. lactiflora and P. wittmanniana, Paeonia ‘Avant Garde’ blooms in late May, early June with light pink magenta hems along some petals.
View Harry’s movie Spring in the Hidden City Garden, Garden of Eden.
To learn more about Harry, check out his website.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Tell us about the peonies that you have growing in your garden.