Peony Season Part III

This is officially the latest my peonies have bloomed - ever. Okay, so maybe that's not saying much as I've only been growing more than a dozen peonies at any one time for about eight years. My last report on the season was five days ago, and new peonies have opened while those that have passed their first flush are offering up a nice crop of side buds.


This little cutie is called 'Clown'
We've had our share of downpours, and I've got a vase of cut peonies in every room to prove it. I can't bring myself to knowingly allow the fully-opened doubles to suffer the soggy fate of less coddled flowers. And here I'll digress a bit to offer up another reason for growing a variety of peonies. Planting a range of early, mid- and late season varieties will help assure they won't all succumb to the next storm.

'Al's Choice' is an intersectional peony named by Allan Rogers.
Intersectional peonies have earned their reputation for standing up to a rainstorm. But even if one or two blooms lose their petals to a downpour, they'll almost certainly have more flower buds waiting in the wings. Their claim to fame is that they have a longer bloom season due to their ability to flower on stems that initiate from both above and below the ground.
Peony 'Dayton'
While I try not to play favorites, it's impossible for my eyes not to land on 'Dayton', which is currently reigning over the garden. Its vibrant color is further enhanced by a silvery-white edging along the edges of its pinked petals. 
A close-up of 'Dayton' just before it opens shows the gorgeous petal edges.

Coming in at a close second for sheer color magnitude is 'Ursa Major'. If all of the peonies in the garden were such a deep and lustrous raspberry shade, my eyes wouldn't know where to light. As luck would have it (I certainly can't claim I planned it.), they are spaced far enough apart so as not to each lose their impact.

 
'Ursa Major' is a Japanese form peony.

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