Another Vote for Peony

One of the coolest things in springtime is watching the Peony blast from the quiet earth like Jack’s beanstalk.

Peony - ws - blooming in spring
photo by SVSeekins

It’s truly amazing how Peony can put all that energy into massive growth, and still have enough left for those voluptuous blooms.

Granted, I’m not super keen on the fluffy pink flowers in May.  They’re lovely, but age poorly.  In a very short time they’re fading & reminding me of scrunched up Kleenex.

It feels cold hearted, but usually I dead head blooms early, to avoid the mess.

Peony - ms2- fading blooms
photo by SVSeekins

Then I just enjoy the Peony’s foliage for the summer.  It adds texture to the borders.  I don’t give it much attention, and neither do the deer.  So that’s a good thing, too.

Peony captures my attention again in autumn.  The fall campaign has wonderful color.

I figure that good interest in 2 seasons, spring & fall, is enough reason to keep Peony on my team.

Now I realize Peony is on the ballot for summer interest too.  I stumbled on this discovery by pure chance, or laziness (take your pick).

Peony -ms- fresh blooms
photo by SVSeekins

When we moved into Richmond House a few years ago, I had to clear all the foundation beds for drain tile work.

The dark green Peony recovered well from the transplanting & bloomed the following spring.

The Peony with lighter colored leaves grew, but didn’t bloom.

Peony are known for being particular about transplant depth.  I crossed my fingers & hoped they’d adjust themselves as plants often do.

Peony - ms - red bloom
photo by SVSeekins

This year they bloomed!  Yeah baby!

The flowers are a beautiful, rich red.  Fabulous!  Even better – –  the blooms didn’t fade & remind me of scrunched Kleenex!

Believe it or not, the petals were still the wonderful red color when they dropped off the plant.  Magic.

Peony -cu- summer seed pod
photo by SVSeekins

But wait – there’s more!  I had enjoyed the red Peony so much that I didn’t get around to dead heading, so the plant was able to set seed.

What cool seed pods!  Pods ROCK!

And get this, the other day Jill introduced me to her Tree Peony.  It had also gone to seed.  Wow!

The growth was well over my head – and pods, as big as my hand.  Can it get any cooler than that?

Tree Peony -cu- summer seed pod
photo by SVSeekins

A 3rd season of interest.  🙂

Now there’s more reason to pull out the garden hose even as flowers fade.  It’s fun to wander the garden checking for interesting seed pods.

Note to self.  Let more plants set seed.

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© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

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Summer’s Shasta Daisy

shasta daisy - flower grouping
photos by SVSeekins

The Daisy is such a likable flower.  She’s happy, pretty & uncomplicated.

She reminds me of the character Betty, of the duo Betty & Veronica, in the Archie comic books.  I’ve always preferred Betty.

My first Shasta Daisy came from my good friend & mentor KC.  She gardened on an acreage in Sooke, where deer were common all year & black bear came around in the autumn to feast in the apple trees.

KC assured me the Shasta Daisy could stand up to anything.  Even drought.  Now, that’s my kind of plant!  Something that blooms without any attention from me.

Shasta Daisy - row along south wall
photo by SVSeekins

Along the hot, windy, south side of our home we now grow a row of tenacious Shasta Daisies.  They add color with minimal effort.  I haven’t watered the bed at all this year – not even once.  Scout’s honor!

In the shrub border, that gets a good weekly drink, the Shasta clumps bloom well above 4 feet.  Happily KC gave me a head’s up about that, too.  Because the Shasta Daisy is tough as nails, she can be a bit of a bully when given any encouragement at all.

I’ve followed KC’s advice & kept the Shasta clumps in big pots, then sunk the pots into the flower beds.  The Shasta easily gets enough water, and the pots keep them contained.

Shasta Daisy - happy blooms
photo by SVSeekins

Some folk say the Shasta blooms are kind of stinky.  After 5 years of growing this long row of Shasta Daisies, last July was the first time I ever noticed any smell – –  and I have to say, the smell really doesn’t offend me.  The clouds of white & yellow flowers through July & August easily make up for an unusual fragrance.

KC recommended deadheading at the end of the bloom cycle. That’s not too big a chore, so each September I shear the tops.

I figure it’s not a good idea to put all those seed pods into our compost heap. Instead they go into the garbage can I use for weeds.  Whenever that can is full, it goes to the municipal yard where their compost reaches heats strong enough to neutralize the seed.

The best part is that Shasta Daisy is perennial.  She rests quietly over the winter, wakes up in the spring, and parties again all summer.  🙂

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© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

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