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Plants Online - Paeony

Plants for sale - Paeony

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PAEONY

Family RANUNCULACEAE
Paeonia species
Perennial

A genus of Asiatic origin and many garden varieties.
The flowers vary in size and may be of single or double form.

Paeonia officinalis is an old garden flower with eight-inch flowers of crimson on two- to three-feet stems.
Paeonia tenuifolia is a miniature form with double crimson flowers.
Paeonia molkosewitschii has sulphur-yellow single flowers.
Paeonia lactiflora (syn. Paeonia albiflora) is the origin of many of the beautiful garden varieties; reaches three feet with double flowers.
Paeonia lutea, three feet, from Yunnan, and Paeonia wittmanniana, two feet, from the Orient, are good yellow-flowering species.
Paeonia browni, one and a half feet, with dull red flowers, comes from California.

Paeonia suffruticosa (syn. Paeonia moutan) is the Tree Paeony, three to six feet tall, with rose flowers.

tree peony

Paeonies of all kinds should be planted in September or October.
A deep soil rich in humus and a position in full sun is essential, as well as ample moisture but perfect drainage during growth.

Propagate by division in October or from seed.

The flowering season is in May and June.

Paeony
Hardy Perennial.
Eighteen inches to three feet.
Flowers of various colours (chiefly white, and shades of rose and crimson), in May and June.

The Paeonies treated of here are the Herbaceous or deciduous kinds; the Tree or Mountain variety being omitted as properly belonging to the order of Shrubs.
The herbaceous Paeony is beyond question the most impressive of the early summer flowers; the size of the double blooms, which have a sort of pompous affluence, and the grace of the singles, their range of colour and characteristic scent, the noble habit of the plants when well established, each covering two or three square yards of ground with vigorous bronze or green foliage and heavy-headed blossoms, all join to make the Paeony-time one of the best in the garden year.
The Paeony is entirely hardy, and probably owing to the strong aroma of root and top alike, it escapes the attentions of most garden pests. The roots are hard and fleshy, somewhat like those of rhubarb.
The leaves begin to push early in the year, and the knob-like buds soon follow them, and expand about the end of May.
The foliage remains green all the summer, and should not be cut away until it is brown and sere in October.
Established plants are gross feeders, and require plenty of moisture.
An abundant top-dressing of old manure, wood ashes and leaves should be spread amongst the crowns and a yard round them in November.
If the soil is naturally dry, or a droughty summer pinches the borders, copious waterings should be given to enable the plants to perfect their growth for the following summer.

Once planted, the roots of Paeonies should be left absolutely to themselves.
It takes two or three years for a newly-planted clump to settle down, and makes itself at home, and it may stand undisturbed for a dozen years and, perhaps, in good soil, for half a life-time.
Good ordinary garden mould is sufficient to grow the finest, and the plant will thrive among the grass in meadow loam. But in making preparations for planting, it is worth while to “mend” the ground thoroughly, breaking it up as deep as practicable without bringing up raw subsoil, and working in plenty of half-decayed manure.
The site must not be arid and shallow, or too much sunburnt; on the contrary, Paeonies will flourish under the shade of trees, so long as there is no deficiency of root moisture.
Perhaps the best place is a large herbaceous border, where they may get their turns of sun and shade, with full exposure to dew and rain and free-moving air. New plants should be put in for choice about the end of February.
Take care to plant with the crown-eyes just at the surface of the soil, not buried too deep. In planting from one’s own stock, raise a plant, or if possible, part of it, carefully with a fork, and cut off with a sharp knife a good sound piece of root with one or two of the stumps of last year’s stems on it, and at least one bud-eye visible beside them.
Paeonies need no thinning out or disbudding, and no tying up to sticks.
Their half-recumbent habit, with the great flowers lying about among the foliage, is one of their peculiar charms; but if any one wants to see a pet bloom to full advantage, the flower-stem may be unobtrusively tied to a light hazel or green-painted rod.
The summer routine comprises the destruction of weeds, hoeing of the soil, and water in very dry weather, followed by a mulch of short manure.
In October cut off the leaf-stems with a sharp knife, taking care not to bring away any part of the roots; prick the ground over lightly with a fork, and spread the top-dressing among the plants.

The main classes into which herbaceous Paeonies are divided are the single and double Chinese and the European or May-flowering, also single and double.
The first of these comprise the great majority of the recent “improvements”, the very beautiful varieties which have been produced during the last few decades.

In shape they vary from the crumpled disc of the single, with its central tuft of gold anthers, to the loose-leaved semi-double forms with broad outer guard-petals, and the close-packed full double flower.
The range of colour includes pure white, cream, sulphur, flesh pink, various shades of rose, crimson, purple, together with the somewhat indeterminate hues, salmon, peach, chamois and cherry.
The Paeony suffers at present, like most other popular flowers, from a plethora of names; in the many hundreds contained in growers’ lists there are plenty of distinctions without difference.
It is of little use to give a selection of sorts which are being superseded every season.
The intending grower should, if possible, visit a nursery ground in Paeony time, and make notes of his particular fancies.
Failing this, he will not go far wrong if he look through a catalogue and mark a selection of different colours.
Giving his vote to any characterised as “vigorous! Or “free-flowering”.

The European Paeonies are a much less numerous and more old-fashioned race than the Chinese.
Their habits and culture are the same as those already described.
The best of the doubles are the old Double Crimson and Double Rose, and tenuifolia plena.
The first two have very large full globular flowers, fading after a few days, the Crimson to pink, and the Rose to a blush that is almost white.
There are also purple and white varieties of this form.
All these are delightful things in the fortnight or so which joins the later spring to the full summer; they are indispensable in “old-fashioned” gardens, and ought not to be left out, though one possesses a hundred of the choicest new kinds.
Tenuifolia has very finely-cut foliage, resembling fennel; the flowers are deep crimson.

Among the single sorts of the European Paeonies, the best are decora, crimson-purple; lobata, salmon red; officinalis splendens, crimson, gold anthers.

 

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