June 28, 2012

Coral Supreme Peony Bloom Progression

The two 'Coral Supreme' peonies in my front yard bloomed for the first time this year, and I captured a series of photos of one of the flowers to show how the it looked at each stage. The photos below were taken from June 11 to June 20. I expect the bloom lasted longer than usual because we had very cool, wet, often overcast weather during that time.

Here is the bud, which was a vibrant color that seemed to glow in the overcast weather. Coral Supreme is 36" tall, 42" wide, semi-double, early blooming, and doesn't require staking.

Two days later, the flower opened to show this lovely mix of colors. When I consulted Keith Swenson from Swenson Gardens, a specialty peony grower, he had this to say about the different coral peonies they sell: "If you want a true coral go with Coral Charm, coral with white/ivory tones Coral Supreme, coral with peachy undertones Pink Hawaiian Coral and the truly unique coral with tri phase/tri color blooms Coral Sunset." He says that if you want the color to stay more vivid, you should plant these coral peonies where they'll get some afternoon shade. Well, mine are in full sun so they faded.

The color was still pretty as it softened over the next week. Above you can see how the flower closed up on overcast days.

Now you can see more of the interesting seed pods, which were fuzzy sage green with hot pink tips.

A week after opening, the flower is ready to come apart. You can see the stamens already falling out of the center.
My plants are still small, and they each produced only five flowers. The overall effect was kind of spindly, though that should improve as the plants push out more leaves and flowers with each additional year of growth. Some of the flowers leaned over and some stayed upright, but none of them broke or bent completely to the ground. Now that blooming is over, the light green leaves blend in with the rest of the landscape. I like my 'Coral Supreme' peonies so much that I've found a spot to add a third in the front yard.

June 26, 2012

June Vignettes in the Garden

A few plant combos have been especially pretty in the garden in June. Above, golden 'Stella d'Oro' daylilies pop against lavender 'Walker's Low' catmint and a touch of deep violet 'May Night' salvia.

My 'Teasing Georgia' english rose is cheerfully climbing its trellis.

The two 'Crown Princess Margareta' climbing english roses are still short but very sweet.

The reddish young leaves on 'Lady Emma Hamilton' are almost as striking as the rosy-orange flowers.

'Pagan Purple' New Millenium delphiniums make the backdrop for 'Tanz Nochmal' blue siberian iris. The vigorous deep blue 'Mer du Sud' bearded iris is included on the left.

'Rosy Cheeks' carnations are exploding into bloom right now - there must be a hundred buds on each little plant. In the background you can see white 'Esther Reed' double daisies and a pink 'Guidon' peony. I love this peony - the flowers look fluffy and full but don't have as many petals so the blooms don't fall over.

'Eglantyne' roses are blooming in the front yard with more 'Walker's Low' catmint at the base.
Last weekend I drove to my parents' house in Moses Lake to help with a few days of marathon gardening. My brother decided to get married next month with a very small ceremony in their backyard, so we worked like mad to spruce things up. We fertilized, spread compost, weeded, trimmed, dejunked and planted 17 pots of flowers. I've got my mother on a fertilizing schedule so all the Wave petunias and other annuals will grow quickly and be showy for the wedding. I told her to prepare to be amazed at how much things will grow in a month; let's hope I'm right!

June 13, 2012

Spokane Temple Gardens June 2012

The 'General McManihan' peonies are in full bloom at the Spokane Temple right now. There are several dozen plants, including a handful of white and light pink bloomers that are obviously some other variety. Marilyn (the landscape director) and I made notes today on the locations of the interlopers and plan to remove them this fall.

Like last year, this spring has been very cool and wet, which are favorable conditions for fungal diseases. Most of the peonies have some signs of fungal disease, and some of them have died back severely. Once a leaf is infected with a fungus, there isn't a way to treat it. Next spring we'll apply preventative fungacide to treat this problem.

The Seattle-like weather has made many of the other plants at the temple very happy. This photo shows a 'Stellar Pink' dogwood tree, 'Alfredo' American cranberry bushes, 'Globosa' dwarf globe blue spruces, 'Green Velvet' boxwoods, 'Kelsey' red twig dogwood shrubs and 'Catlin's Giant' Ajuga groundcover all looking lush and full.

We're looking forward to warmer, drier weather so the annuals can fill in and bloom heavily. This photo shows deep violet 'Marine' heliotrope (which smells heavenly), lilac 'Opal Innocence' nemesia, 'Bandana Light Yellow' lantana and a spike of 'Angelface Wedgwood Blue' angelonia.

This view includes the plants above plus 'Minifamous Double Lemon' calibrachoa, 'Marguerite' sweet potato vine, and a bit of light blue lobelia. This color scheme by the main entrance is sweet and perky, while the flowers at the south entrance are vivid rainbow hues with a lot of pop (more photos of that area later in the summer).

Here is one of the concrete urns on the east of the temple, showing pink ivy geranium, 'Limelight' licorice plant, light blue lobelia, 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia, 'Tapien Blue Violet' verbena (which isn't blooming right now), and a maroon cordyline spike at center. The color scheme for the East is soothing and serene, since that area is for quiet reflection.

There are a lot of these 'Lilac Opera Supreme' petunias in the beds by the front entrance, and they can grow 2 to 3 feet wide. Right now they're at 6 inches. Grow, baby petunias, grow! The background shows white sweet alyssum and silver licorice plant. It has been such a treat to work on planning and planting these flowers.

June 9, 2012

'Kopper Kettle' Peony and 'Flore Plena' Filipendula hexapetala

I found the perfect companion for 'Kopper Kettle' peonies in the vase. The rosy-peach buds of 'Flore Plena' Filipendula hexapetala (which I ordered from Bluestone Perennials) pick up the same colors in the peony bloom, then the buds open to dainty cream flowers. Commonly called meadowsweet, Flore Plena is 2-3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide, with flowers that are held on long stems above a low clump of ferny foliage. Grow it in full sun to mostly shade in zones 3 to 10. Bluestone says it 'requires no care whatsoever.' Amen to that. As a bonus, it's deer-resistant, doesn't mind clay soil, and attracts butterflies.

I love the flowers of 'Kopper Kettle' and my pink 'Keiko' peonies in vases. I do not love 'Kopper Kettle' blooms when the flowers have faded in the sun when left outside on the plant. This year KK has 20 buds and Keiko has just 11, and most of them will be cut and brought inside.

I haven't been doing much in my garden lately because I've been putting together a large fall bulb order for the temple. I've also been working with the landscape director, Marilyn, to get the annual plantings filled out with a few more plants. We've had such cold and rainy weather that the annuals are just sitting there instead of growing and blooming. Since this is my first year doing much of the design work for the annuals, I'm anxious for them to take off and start looking pretty! Although we included the standard petunias, alyssum and geraniums in the mix, I used a lot of less common plants to spice things up. Heliotrope, sweet potato vine, lantana, bacopa, angelonia, nemesia, verbena and 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia were included. I'll post pictures later in the summer when the pots and beds look (hopefully) really good.