Monday, February 3, 2014

Thinking of Peonies

It's hard to believe yesterday was sunny and sixty degrees, because it's cold and rainy and miserable  here this morning, and the weather people are talking about more storms later this week. Such a crazy winter.  But yesterday was feeling like spring, and so I went off to Green Springs Gardens in the afternoon for one of their Winter Lecture Series--this one was about peonies, one of my favorite fleurs.  The speaker was Kathleen Gagan, the owner of Peony's Envy, one of the largest peony farms in the US (located in New Jersey), and which grows over 500 cultivars of peonies.   She was an enthusiastic and engaging speaker and she talked about the four different kinds of peonies--woodland, herbaceous, tree, and intersectional (Itoh hybrids), their care, and cultivation. She made me want to grow more peonies, and especially try the newer intersectional varieties, which are a cross between the herbaceous and tree peonies.  And I never even knew there was a woodland peony. It is smaller, will grow in shade, and spreads like a  ground cover. Who knew?

I thought this was a great illustration that she showed of the four different kinds of peonies, and what to expect in terms of size, shape, etc.

She also talked about the history of peonies,  the colors, the flower shapes,  and how to use peonies in the landscape. I learned a lot, and was happy that I went. After the lecture I walked around the gardens, still wintery, but always something interesting to photograph.

And I really have to get some of this helleborus foetidus,  which were showing some buds and brightening up the gardens.

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