May 21, 2016

Giant Peonies and Floriferous Dogwoods

The June flowers are blooming in May this year, and my'Coral Supreme' peonies (above) out front have been very showy for the past couple of weeks.  I didn't capture the color very well in these shots; it really is coral instead of pure pink.

This type of peony is not supposed to need staking, but my plants grew so tall and the flowers so large that I finally put a ring around them.  Obviously I should have put the ring around this one earlier to hold it into a more upright shape.  Next year I'll know.

Most of the flowers reached nearly eight inches across.  I cut several for vases, but the ones I cut in bud didn't open very well, and the ones I cut when open didn't last very long before turning brown.  I think the rose or bomb form peonies last better in vases than these lotus form flowers.  They sure were pretty in arrangements for a couple of days, though.

My  two 'Heartthrob' Korean dogwoods (Cornus kousa) have bloomed better this spring than ever before.  They were fairly large when I planted them, so it has taken several years for their roots to catch up after transplanting.  Maybe this summer they'll finally put on some top growth and keep blooming hard each spring.

Here is the second tree.  It's hard to get good shots of these trees, as this one is next to the neighborhood's large bank of mailboxes and the other one is next to utility boxes.  These Korean dogwoods start blooming as the Cornus florida dogwoods finish up, and the flowers (actually colorful bracts) last for several weeks.

If we walk around the southwest corner of the house to the west garden, the peonies give way to bearded iris, catmint and salvia.

I meant to beg my dear hubby to divide the woody catmints this spring but forgot, and now they're all flopping with big holes in the center.  That hasn't stopped the fuzzy bumblebees, hummingbirds and cabbage white butterflies from frequenting the blooms.

This last shot features both 'Pure as Gold' and 'Evening Tidings' iris, plus 'May Night' sage (Salvia) and 'Walker's Low' catmint.  I'm continuing to collect shots from the backyard gardens to share next week.


  1. Your flowers are lovely. I came to Amsterdam this spring to see the tulips and am missing my own spring blooms at home so I am very happy to see yours.

  2. Hello! Your garden is just a dream!
    I have as well a couple catmint in my garden but they are so big and flopping with a big hole in the center as yours! So I want to know how you divide those? And if I do this, next year they come smaller?
    Well, will be so helpful if you let me know because I'm new in gardening and I need to lear to many things!
    Thanks for sharing your tips and your inspiring garden's pictures!

    1. Annette, thanks for stopping by! Catmints are hard to divide, so my husband does it for me by sticking a shovel in the center of the clump and digging out half. The base is so woody that you need to have some muscle to get the shovel through, though I have heard of people sharpening their shovels with a file and that would make it easier. Then the next year it comes back smaller. You can also divide when you cut back hard halfway through the summer. Actually with catmint you could divide anytime and it would survive!


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