A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, May 28, 2007


I'm revelling in the first peony. It's the first peony of the season and of this garden. I don't know why I have never grown peonies at this house. I grew peonies at my last house. That's when I learned how tough they are and how careless non-gardeners can be. We were having our first large backyard barbecue. I bought white wire fencing to put around my gardens. White, so that it would stand out, fencing to make it clear where no one should step.

It was all to no avail. Our guests stepped and even sat wherever they wanted. The only plants that escaped destruction were my hanging baskets. Otherwise, the devestation was complete. I was heartbroken. In July, it is nearly impossible to find replacement plants. I reconciled myself to having to wait until the following spring to replant.

You can well imagine my delight when my peonies came up and bloomed the next year as if nothing had happened.

There are other firsts in my garden this morning. This is Madame Pierre Oger. I bought her on sale at Home Depot last year. She began to bloom for the first time last week.

The flowers on the Seven Sisters rose are much tinier than I had expected. I thought that this rose had died last year and requested a replacement from the catalog company I had purchased it from. By the time the replacement arrived, the original was showing signs of growth. I carefully moved it and planted the replacement in its place. The replacement died, but the original lived on and bloomed for the first time this year.

I finally have some color in the Entry Garden. I had ordered four iris last year, all Dykes Medal winners. Three made it through the winter. The fourth has disappeared completely, most likely a victim of the voracious squirrels.

This is Stairway to Heaven. I've discovered several iris with musical names. I'm considering creating a "Rock 'n Roll" iris bed.

Here's an oldie but goodie. Two years ago, I purchased The Fairy and General Jacqueminot for less than $5 each at the local drug store. The Fairy has bloomed each year sincebut not a peep out of General Jac. I thought I had lost General Jac completely last year. I didn't have to heart to dig it up and throw it out. Good thing, because it later sent out a few green shoots. The trouble was that they were from the bottom and most likely from root stock and not General Jac

Looks like I was right. I compared this flower to a photo in my rose encyclopedia. They look nothing alike. It's a pretty rose, though and I desperately need color in the front of my house.


At 9:22 PM, Blogger Ki said...

It is a gorgeous peony! I've resisted growing herbaceous peonies because of their tendency to fall over from the weight of their huge blossoms. But I may give it another try after seeing yours.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Carol said...

All your flowers look beautiful. While you are just seeing your first peony, today I cut mine all back. They are done for the year, perhaps a few days earlier than normal due to the dry weather we had.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger LostRoses said...

Your roses are pretty and what a huge, lovely peony! My pink one managed to open a half dozen blooms yesterday, just in time to take to the cemetery for Memorial Day. Otherwise, I'd be buying a bouquet at the grocery store.

After awhile, you get to recognize that "rootstock rose" look, don't you? But they're still pretty and I agree that I'd take any color I can get!

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Piana Nanna said...

I love theme gardens (although I don't have one) and the "Rock and Roll" garden sounds like a lot of fun, unless of course, the word "Rock" turns into stones.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger Andrea's Garden said...

Your peony is beautiful. I've got one in my garden, but it just won't bloom. I have planted 3 Fairys this year and they are taking off great. I am looking forward to see how the area will look when they are in bloom. Beautiful flowers! Greetings from Germany, Andrea

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Annie in Austin said...

OldRoses, your white peony has a gorgeous form - does it have the real peony smell?

I love the rock and roll garden idea - maybe the iris hybridizers are nostalgic Baby Boomers!

As to the understock rose, another Austin garden blogger posted an photo really close to yours... she had hers identified as 'Dr Huey', a tough rose used for grafting. I think it might be in my garden, too.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

At 6:05 PM, Blogger snappy said...

You have some gorgeous flowers to look at, and the rose from the root stock is amazing.I like red roses too :)
good thing you did not dig it up then.

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

When we first moved into our house we had a row of peony dividing our lawn in half. Not sure why they planted them like that - we proceeded to mow them rather than dig them out of the the lawn. four years later I finally broke down and dug them out. Yes, they were still alive and fine! And they even bloomed the year after transplant; pale pink and white mix. I have since bought three other kinds.

Good luck on your roses. I have been loving growing them myself.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Very pretty that white Peony and how lucky it survived that stampede. ;-)

Madame Oger is looking great, what a lovely rose that is. Never heard of the Seven Sisters Rose before but it looks pretty.

Stairway to Heaven is very Led Zeppelin! :-)

At 2:29 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Ki, thank you for not mentioning my hand holding the peony up to be photographed!

Carol, you are always ahead of me!

LostRoses, I can usually tell rootstock roses by their foliage but this time since the foliage was very similar, I had to wait until the bloom.

Piana Nanna, don't jinx me!

Andrea, peonies have to reach a certain size before they bloom. This peony was given to me. It was an established plant and the right size for blooming.

Annie, unfortunately it doesn't have much of a scent.

Snappy, sometimes being a tenderhearted gardener is an asset.

Sylvana, I believe it! They are so tough.

Yolanda Elizabet, I bought that iris because I was a big Led Zep fan in high school.


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