Tree Peony-Nishiki

Getting More Beautiful Every Year

We weren’t able to enjoy our tree peonies in the last two years as it was either too windy or too much rain which brought down the flowers as soon as they opened up.  This year, though we had a lot of rain, there was a brief period without and it coincided with the tree peony blooming. Not just us enjoying the flowers, the bees were also busy collecting pollen from them.

The flowers are so big, they weigh the branches down a little
Each flower is around 7-8″ in diameter

We have only two tree peonies in our garden as they grow very large and don’t like to be moved once established.  The ‘Nishiki’ has been with us for 10 years and is around 3.5 feet tall.  It usually produces around 15 to 20 flowers each spring.  We look forward to seeing how many flowers it will produce each year since it produces more flowers as it gets older.

One on top of the other
Close up
Looks beautiful even when it’s fading

It’s a flower that’s worth growing.  It’s not fussy and doesn’t need much attention, however, it’s a slow grower.  The beauty of the flowers make it worth the wait.

Fooled By Nature

Spring Already?

Tomorrow, December 22 will be the official first day of winter but Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.  Day time temperature will be over 50° F for the next few days and night time will not be much lower than that.  In fact, in this area Christmas Eve is predicted to be 70° F during the day.

The sad part of this unseasonably warm winter is that plants and animals are fooled by it.  They base their life cycles on the seasonal temperature changes.  When it’s cold they hibernate or go dormant in order to conserve energy when food is hard to find.  But when it’s too warm bears will come out from hibernation.  Cherry trees will bloom in Brooklyn.  Our honeybees came out looking for food too.  Luckily they are domesticated so we feed them.  But what happens to the wild honeybees?  There are no flowers for then to get nectar or pollen from.

Aside from our bees, plants in our garden are also fooled by this weather.

Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' is budding
Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’ is budding
Hydrangea
Hydrangea
Tree peony
Tree peony

I don’t know what this winter will turn out to be.  If the ‘rural legend’ of Wooly Bear caterpillars (Pyrrharctia isabella) hits the mark most of the time, this winter should be a warm winter.   According to the text in ‘Caterpillars of Eastern North America‘ by David L. Wagner, the legend says the width of the orange band can be used to predict the severity of the upcoming winter; the narrower the band, the colder the winter.

This Wooly Bear on my glove told me the winter will be pretty warm, see how wide the orange band is.  But maybe he was just stretching.

I found this Wooly Bear caterpillar in our garden this autumn. Cute little guy.
I found this Wooly Bear caterpillar in our garden this autumn. Cute little guy.

Tree Peony

Tree Peony-Nishiki

I wish the rain would stop.  It’s been raining on and off for a few days.  I know it’s good for the garden, but not all plants love a lot of rain.  We have waited for the Tree Peony “Nishiki” (Paeonia suffruticosa) to blossom, twelve flowers this year, but they’re too delicate to withstand a heavy rain and that takes the fun out of it.

The Nishiki started to unfurl one by one two weeks ago.  They look great on a sunny day. The flowers are around 8 to 10 inches in diameter when fully open.  On a cloudy day they refuse to open completely.  Perhaps a self-preservation mechanism as the flowers are too large for the stalk to hold up under the added weight of rain.    I cut the root suckers off them early this year to cut down crowding but one still sneaked out growing about a foot away from the main plant.  I think I’ll let it grow and then transplant it later on in the season.  I left them to bloom last year just to see what the flowers would look like.  They turned out pretty too, one layer of petals and a deep pink.  They looked more like the herbaceous peony (Paeonia officinalis).

Then the rain came down taking a lot of petals off the flowers.  Bummer.  The one that was only half-open looked great after the rain though.  Now we just have to wait for the herbaceous peonies to bloom and hope that the rain will let us enjoy them longer.

Nishiki-fully open
Not yet beat up by the rain
Half bloom. Looks more like a rose.
Close up
A bloom from last year’s sucker

Spring Weather, Finally

A Cold, Wet Day

It was normal spring weather today, rainy and chilly as spring should be.  After an unreasonably hot March,  we finally have spring-like weather back.  It’s been raining or drizzling on and off all day.  I decided to roll the row cover back over the vegetable seedlings, though I knew they’d be able to deal with 40 degree temperatures. Howevert the cold does slow their growth.  I want my salad sooner.

There was a brief period today when I could duck out with the camera without ruining it.  Something about the silvery, shimmering drops of water that hang on to leaves and flower petals that is very soothing, very meditating.  Nature stages them, I just took the photographs.

Beauty derived of a wet and cold spring day.

Pearl on a Peony
On a white Bleeding heart leaf
On Columbine leaves
On a Daffodil flower, just about to open
On Anemone
Clinging to a Bleeding heart leaf.
On Helleborus
Little pearls on Columbine leaves