Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flower Arrangement with Peonies and Other Flowers

Peonies, Roses, Lilies, Dahlias, etc
One of my favorite things to have around the house are flowers. So, it's quite natural that I assembled flowers in some fashion or another. Some of them came out rather well and I wished I had taken pictures of them.

I am posting here some pictures of the ones that I managed to photograph.

This one was from cutting from my Rose Garden.

Pink and White Peonies with Hosta Leaves in the Garden

Red Peonies with Hosta and Misc greeneries

Pink Peonies with Alliums on a Blue Vase

Peonies, Clematis, Iris Arrangement on a tin can

Coral Charm Peony, Allium, Iris, Hosta leaves and Hellebore

Red Roses with Pine cuttings

Trio of Peonies with Columbine and Hosta

Another Peonies with Hosta and various greens

Roses paired off with grass stalks and japanese maple leaves.

Roses, Hydrandeas, Japanese Maple leaves
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Christmas Arrangement

More Peony Arrangements

Various Arrangements for the House - Cuttings from the Garden

As you can see, your garden offers you a wealth of beautiful arrangements for any occassion. So, have fun! and make sure you plant with flowers for the house in mind.
Credits: Flowers are from my garden
Peonies are from Peony Farm (

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Planting Peony Roots

Planting the peony root.

Finally, the peonies have arrived.
First, select your location. A must - a location with at least 6-8 hours of sun. Choose location where the peony will not compete with any large roots. And remember, peonies do not like to be moved around. You can use an empty plastic pot, move it around the garden till you can picture your peonies sitting in the perfect spot.

Secondly, check your soil. Peonies do not like to sit in water. The roots will rot. You want soil with good drainage (amended clay; not sandy soil). Add cured compost to the soil. Mix it thoroughly. It is a good idea to prepare your soil while waiting for your peony roots to arrive.

You can also check About Peonies for more information. You've prepared the planting bed. Now, the critical part. This section determines if your peony will flower or not.

How do you plant the roots?

  • 1. If the peony root arrived in a bag and you are not able to plant it right away,refresh it with a little water.

  • 2. Remove the tags. Secure the tags for plant identification.

  • 3. Scoop out enough soil so that when you put your peony the root will be sit ting with just 1" to 1 1/2" inch of soil covering it.

  • 4. Position the root in such a way that the eyes are pointing upwards.

  • 5. Cover with soil.

  • 6. Water well.

  • 7. Keep moist until frost.

  • 8. Leave it alone till spring.
Key to this: Plant the root with just an inch or two of soil above the root. Peonies planted too deep will yield you leaves. Nothing more.
Be careful with the watering. Peonies sitting on a basin of water will cause the roots to rot.

View a video on How to Plant Peonies on YouTube.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Peony Fall Care - Herbaceous and Tree Peonies


It's that time of the year. perennials must be deadheaded, cut down, subdivided if needed.

(Hana Kisoi Tree Peony)

For peonies, it's definitely time to cut back the foliage, clean up and divide if needed. See blog on How to Divide Peonies.

Cutting Back the Herbaceous and Itoh Peonies

Cutting back the peony plant to within 1 inch of the ground level is essential. Leaves and stems that will ultimately fall on the peony bed can cause an overwintering of virus and other diseases that can be harmful to the plant. After you are done cutting down the plant, get rid of the cuttings by throwing them in the trash. Do not add it to your compost pile.

Fall Care for the Tree Peonies

Tree Peonies require a different treatment. They SHOULD NOT BE CUT DOWN. However, when the leaves fall off, dispose of the leaves as you would the herbaceous and itoh peonies.

Mulching for the Winter

If you experience severe freezing temperature in your area, add mulch after the first frost to prevent the cycle of freezing and thawing. Frost heaving can injure the peony’s crown and roots, exposing it to the extreme temperature.

Choose a mulch: straw, compost or dry leaves. Choose a mulch that allows the air to breathe.

Apply two to four inches of mulch to the top of the soil. Spread the mulch on top of and around, the peony plant. It is very important to mulch peonies well their first year to prevent winter damage.

However, if you live in a warmer climate area, do not mulch. The peonies need the cold weather exposure.

Mulch for the Tree Peony

Tree Peonies need to be kept warm during the Early Spring period.

Tree Peonies Lineup















Resource for Tree Peonies at

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tree Peonies for your Garden

Koukamon  Tree Peony at

High Noon Tree Peony at

Hana Kisoi Tree Peony at

Tree peonies are not really trees

Tree Peonies are woody shrubs with flowers so commanding, it's easy to see why
they're known as the Queen of Flowers. They will grow to mature in 5 to 10 years. And the blossoms will reach 5-6" on plants that range from 2 1/2' to 5' tall. Growing tree peonies follow the old Chinese saying: “Grow the "above ground parts" in the spring, doze off in the summer, grow roots in the fall, and go to sleep in the winter.

Planting Location for Tree Peonies

Choose a well-drained location, with 4-6 hours of direct sun or dappled sun/shade Hephestos Tree Peony at all day. Some light shade from the hot mid-day sun and protection from drying winds can be most helpful However, do not plant them in a completely open area to prevent the wind from blowing away the flower petals.
Ideal plant areas are north, south or west facing.
The soil must be deep and loose, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5; or even garden soil with neutral ph.

Keep in mind that most tree peonies will grow 4-7 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide. Do not plant closer than 8-10 ft from large trees.
Full sun will make the flowers fade rapidly. Full shade will result in weak and very slow growth.

View available Tree Peonies

Planting Tree Peonies

Plant the graft union 4 to 6 inches below the soil surface as shown in the photo to the right. This helps the plant develop its own roots in addition to the grafted roots. The graft union looks like a bulge on the main stem just above the roots. After planting, only an inch or two of the woody stem may show above the ground. So, be sure to mark where you planted it!

Fall is the best season to plant, because it helps development of new roots and recovery for normal growth in the next spring. If tree peony is divided or planted in spring, the root system cannot recover before the growth and development of the parts above ground. Thus the nutrient supply cannot match the need and the plant may lose its vitality, and effect their normal growth, flowering will not return until after several years cultivation.

Fertilizing Tree Peonies

It is not necessary to fertilize at planting in the fall. Starting the second year, it is recommended that fertilizer be applied three times a year. Use a complete or organic fertilizer. Follow the instructions provided with the fertilizer to determine the amount required.

  1. 1st Application: Should be done in the early spring as soon as the soil is workable. At this time, the leaf may not be fully developed and spread, but the roots are actively growing.

  2. 2nd Application: Apply soon after blooming. This will help the plant recover and will provide the necessary nutrients for new growth.

  3. 3rd Application: The final fertilization stage should take place between late fall and early winter. Use half as much fertilizer much as required in the previous two stages.

  4. Watering Tree Peonies

    Once established, tree peonies are drought tolerant plants. Excess water will suffocate the roots and is the leading cause of plant failure. Do not plant near auto-sprinkler systems that keep the soils continuously moist. Do not water until soil is dry below the surface and try not to wet leaves when watering to prevent fungus. Be observant; soil can dry out on top and still be moist 6-12” below the surface. When you feel the soil is dry below the first 4-6”and leaves may droop slightly, water the roots deeply. Climates of hot summer temperatures with little or no rain at all will require more attention to watering then those areas that get some rainfall.

    Failure to follow watering direction will give unsatisfactory results.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to divide Peonies

Peonies do not like to be moved. That said, there are times when you have to move a peony, or divide a peony. It was planted too deep or planted in the wrong place, it has outgrown its present location, or it is not performing well.

An overgrown, poorly producing peony need to get divided. Most growers use the Crown Division technique to accomplish this.

How to divide Peonies

  1. Carefully push away the soil surrounding the peony to get a visual on the root system.

  2. Using a shovel, push it straight down to get as much of the roots as possible.

  3. Lift the plant out.

  4. Hose down the plant, getting rid of the soil from the roots. This will also help you see where to make the separations.

  5. Let the root rest anywhere from several hours to day to soften it. It is brittle at this point. Might have to cover it to avoid drying out.

  6. Prepare your working area.

    • Steady table

    • Sharp short knife

    • Water source with hose

    • Garden Cutter

    • Some newsprint or peat moss, barely moist

  7. Inspect the plant to see the interconnection of the roots to the eyes. This will help you get a clean cut.

  8. Trim back the tuberous roots to 6-8 inches from the crown.

  9. Using a sharp knife, cut section, making sure you have 3-5 eyes in each division.

  10. You can either plant the division right away in a suitable location or hold the new division in barely moist peat moss or newsprint. Make sure it is kept away from direct sun if you do this.

Here's a sample of the root with eyes.

Here are some samples of the divided root. Just think - more peony plants!

Or plant it in pots to give away as Christmas present to a fellow Peony Lover!

Do not expect the new division to flower the first year. If new buds appear, it is advisable to nip off flower buds to allow the plant to develop its root system during the 1st year.

Watch the step by step illustration of "How to Divide Peonies" on You Tube.

There's still time to Order Your Peonies for this Fall 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Glorious Peonies from a brown root

PEONIES - From roots to Garden Queen


Inside look at the growing cycle of a peony. It always amazes me how beautiful flowers come from itty, bitty seeds, a root that looks like a ginger root, and things like that. Looking at this peony root, we'll follow its evolution, transformation into a gorgeous peony flower

You will learn what to do with the roots when it comes, know what to look for as it evolves from root underground to the garden queen that Peonies are.

A protrusion pushing its way out of the ground -
the peonies are coming! the peonies are coming!

Let's go back a little and discuss why peonies need to be planted in the fall.

Peonies grow a majority of their roots in the fall. This allows the plants some time to grow roots and will be less stressed when summer comes. As soon as the roots are planted in moist soil, they quickly send out tiny filament like feeder roots. The cold weather triggers the development of flower buds.

Although peonies will survive when planted in the spring, it takes them longer to get established and flower. Roots dug in the fall do best. Keep the plant watered until the winter rain comes.You take a holiday while they're doing their thing.

Then come February of the following year, you begin to see a wonderful thing occurring in the ground: a protrusion pushing its way out of the ground. The peony snouts! The peonies are coming!

You can see from the picture on the right, the peony snouts at varying heights.

More info in About Peonies.

Peonies Leafing and Growing Taller

Here you can see the snouts turning into leaves and getting taller.
At this stage, the more stems with foliage you have means more flowers coming soon.
If you've had a dry winter, water the peony to give it a drink.

Like the kids say, "are we there yet?"
Not quite. But, we'll see some buds soon.

Peony Buds!

The good sign: BUDS! The excitement is building up.
Notice that almost all of the stems have a bud on it; some have side buds as well.
You have a choice at this point: pinch off the side buds for larger blooms or leave them alone for more blossoms.

Ants and the Peony Buds, how sweet it is!

There's an old wives tale about the peony buds needing the ants to open up. That's just what it is. An old wife's tale.

Ants love the sweet, sticky secretion from the peony buds. The peonies do not benefit from this at all; neither is it harmful to the peonies.

To avoid bringing in ants with your cut flowers, cut the flowers before the petals unfurl. A soft give on the buds indicate that they will open soon and is probably the best time to cut it.

However, the ant on a peony bud does make an interesting picture.

Peony Plant blooming

Paula Fay peony, the star of my garden. Imagine an extravaganza of peony flowers blooming in your garden!

Nothing could warm my heart more. This greeting of beautiful, vibrant blossoms. Frankly, I hate to cut them. They're so beautiful!

View available Peony varieties.

How to prevent flop overs

Note that peonies that are tall or have the double form (big full flowers) will need a support to prevent it from flopping over.

This is usually brought about by rain. The flowers get water logged and the stems can't support all that weight. There are several peony supports available in the market. If you have the tall variety (30"-36" tall), get at least a 36" support. The shorter ones will just cause the peonies to bend over. Heavy tomato cages works as well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Peonies as Cut Flowers

Peonies Perfect Bouquet at Peony Farm, WA

Peonies in Bloom

What a show stopper Peonies in Bloom are! Friends who visit, neighbors taking a walk or jogging by your property - when peonies are in bloom, they come to a stop to admire those peonies!

But, that's not all they're good for. You want them inside your house, lending its beauty, grace Peony Pink Hawaiian Coral in a vase at Peony Farm, WAand fragrance to your rooms; adorning your dining table, your kitchen, your living room, anywhere you want it. Peonies make a beautiful addition to your landscape garden. As cut flowers - they are elegant! Even just a single bloom can be a dramatic addition to a room.(Pink Hawaiian Coral in an arrangement with Hostas, Irises and Allium).

To view Peonies in bloom, go to Peony Farm 2010 In Picture

I guess we need to talk about cutting peonies for your home.

Cutting to promote growth during the 1st year

During the first year of your peony plant, and if you can resist it, do not cut any flowers. But if you must, cut as little of the leaves as possible to promote root development. Just cut enough length to put the flower in a very short bud base. These leaves are essential to the peony so they store food for next years growth. So take but a few flowers from each plant and leave as much foliage as possible.
New Peony Plant at Peony Farm

Leave as much as 75% of the flowers on the plants. Then, when the flowers are spent, deadhead it right away. Do not leave the seed pods on the plant. Remember, we are trying to grow the roots underneath for a more productive plant the following year.

You can certainly cut as many flowers as you want from your mature peonies, with a longer stem if you wish. Do leave as much leaves as you can because it will allow your peony plant to grow bigger.
Mature Peony Red Charm at Peony Farm, WA
Visitors to the Peony Farm tell of their grandmother's peonies that's been in place for over 45 years! Here's one that's been blooming for 3 years.

Optimum Time for Cutting Peonies

Cutting flowers in the morning applies to all flowers, including peonies. Peony Pink Hawaiian Coral floating in a vase, Peony Farm, WA It is the Optimum time for cutting peonies. Peonies make excellent cut flowers. Key to enjoy it longer inside the house is to cut the peonies while still in bud, before the petals unfurl. Press the buds lightly. It should feel like a semi-soft marshmallow. Avoid buds with a hard marble feel, when the buds are too tight. the flower might not open.

A single bloom (type of peony flower) can be cut earlier (tighter bud formation) than a double bloom. A double bloom is bigger and has lots of petals and so would need to be a softer bud than the bud of a single bloom. Cutting at this stage will allow you to enjoy your peonies longer.

When you bring in a fully opened flower in the house, it will fall apart faster.

To plan your peony garden and/or peony additions, check out ---the Peony Catalog at for the different varieties available.

Preserving cut flowers for when Company's coming

If you are going to entertain and want a massive show of peonies, you can preserve your cut flowers for weeks after their bloom time:

1. Cut them as described above. Store them in the refrigerator.

2. They can be stored with or without water, placed on their side, wrapped in damp paper towels and cling wrap, for up to four weeks.

3. A few days before the day of your event, take them out of the refrigerator, place them in lukewarm water and let them open fully in your home.

However, peonies stored for a long period of time will open faster and will not hold as long as the fresh cut peonies.

Enjoy your Peonies!