Sunday, May 25, 2008

Peony Envy

It always seems like people - sadly, even gardeners (especially gardeners?) - lust for what they can't have. Here in south central Kansas, gardeners lust after azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, blue hydrangeas, and tropical plants like jasmine, gardenias, and palms.

Down in Mobile, Alabama, they grow those things with little effort. The Mobile gardeners lust after other plants, like apple trees, lilacs, pink hydrangeas...and peonies.

Especially peonies. So in honor of the Gulf Coast Peony Society, of which I was a charter member several years ago, I want to post these photos of my newly expanding peony collection.
To the President of the GCPS, J.W., who has successfully grown a peony in Mobile (and actually gotten it to bloom!), I dedicate these photos. A little over a year ago, we discovered this peony plant sadly crouching under the overgrown yews in front of the house, when we rudely and crudely cut the yews down to daringly expose our windows to sunlight. Last summer this waif had few leaves and looked quite bedraggled, but this year it has recovered strength and even rewarded us with 5 large, fragrant blossoms.

To the Vice President of the GCPS, B.W., who has so far successfully resisted the urge to try to grow peonies in a climate they are inclined to hate, despite remembering how gorgeous they looked in other locales where she has lived, I dedicate these photos. Last spring I ordered a series of 3 peony roots, which promptly arrived...and which I just as promptly forgot about. Five weeks later, I ran across them again and stuck them in the ground with a prayer for forgiveness. Evidently my prayer was successful, since they came up last year and have even given me several blooms this year.

To the rest of the Gulf Coast Peony Society, N.M., G.S., P.L., P.S., and others, I dedicate the peonies that I am beginning to try to rescue from a home that is due to be auctioned off later this summer. The owner, sad enough about the fate of her family home, is hoping to find new places for many of the plants that she and her mother and her grandmother lovingly tended for so many years. To the best of my ability, I hope to help her in that quest. (I don't have photos of these plants yet, but I hope to by next year.)

Thank you all, members of the Gulf Coast Peony Society, for allowing me to join your august ranks during that wonderful time that I spent in Mobile. Grow a few blue hydrangeas and Formosa azaleas for me!


Anonymous said...

GCPO is green with envy. I will continue in my quest to someday produce one more bloom but in the meantime, my Niko blue hydrangeas are bursting forth in all their glory.
My Penny Mac hydrangea is also blooming profusely along with the many varieties of oak leaf hydrangeas.Aren't you glad we got to see Penny Mac's yard while she was still able to give us the tour?
Even though I have an abundant variety of plant material, I will always yearn for that elusive peony.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Well, if I can taunt you with peony envy, I guess you can taunt me with hydrangea envy! The ones I miss the most are the variegated leaf lacecaps....

At least we can grow oakleafs here!

Yes, I am REALLY glad that we got to meet Penny Mac and see her yard, especially with her as our tour guide. Remember her performance of the poem? I wonder what's become of her garden?