Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Peony for Fathers Day

I was out in the gardens by 4:30 this morning, inspecting for signs of visiting deer and making a list of things that have to be done in the next couple days. I'm heading for Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington on Thursday and certain chores just have to get finished up. A well planned day is easily interrupted this time of year when visitors and customers show up to tour the gardens, ask questions and make purchases. Yesterday afternoon, for example, a queue of 5 cars pulled up in front making me think for a moment that Gail had scheduled a garden club visit and didn't tell me. It turned out to be a family and friends enjoying the area and since a couple had visited before, they all decided to come by. They were a pleasant group and they expressed their appreciation for the tranquility of the gardens.

I checked the peonies again this morning. They continue to open in good numbers. We are trying to write down the dates each begins to flower. Visitors from Massachusetts were pleased yesterday to see the peonies because theirs back home have already finished blooming. If you like peonies, you seem to like them a lot!

A peony named 'Dad' opened yesterday. I actually peaked inside the night before as I hadn't seen it bloom. It was nice to know it would be available today, kind of as a tribute on Fathers Day. I think I might buy a dozen or so this fall and pot them up for sales next year. 'Paula Fay' continues to bloom as does 'Crusader', 'Henry Bockstoce', 'Peppermint' and 'Red Glory'. I have to say, 'Red Glory' is a very nice, dark red and it looks like a good bloomer.

The previous three years I have picked off the flower buds on most of these peonies to encourage root development and it appears to have been a great idea. 'White Wings' and 'Doreen' are sending up lots of blooms and should be special. If you happen to stop by, the little peony nursery, +100 varieties strong, is through the lower hosta garden and into the field. Duck when you go under the old apple tree. It's a survivor of last winter's heavy snowstorm that arrived around Christmas time. It needs some thoughtful pruning but the resident pruner has been tied up!

Oh yes, my trip west. I hope to visit one of the biggest tree peony nurseries on the west coast, Brothers Herbs and Peonies. They are located in Sherwood, Oregon.
This is Rick Rogers business. You might recall a great book by his father, Alan, Peonies.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where the vocal ravens are sharing their thoughts with all neighbors,

Have a nice Fathers Day!

George Africa

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