Thursday, May 10, 2007

Princess Peony


Two years ago, when my mom and I went to the Cleveland Flower Show, we both bought a Japanese tree peony (Paeonia Suffruticosa). She already had a yellow one at home, which she loved, but now she was smitten with another. 'Shima-nishiki' stole her heart and threatened to do the same with everyone that came into contact with it that day in May when we first set eyes on it.

'Shima-nishiki' means 'Fire Flame' in Japanese and it is aptly named. Its bloom is red and white striped and as she carried it to the car to take home, it commanded the attention of just about every one that passed by. Mom overheard two women talking as they were admiring the peony - "You knock her down and I'll grab the peony and run with it." It really was just that eye-catching.


And of course, there was only one.


But there was a beautiful pale pink one that I knew I could be happy with. I didn't own a Japanese tree peony at all, so I was pretty excited just to get one, no matter what color it was. It was called 'Sahohime' which mean 'Princess Saho' in Japanese. I bought it, took it home, and planted it in my Japanese Garden.


While peonies can live 50-100 years and are very hardy souls, transplanting in the fall is preferable to spring. And you likely won't get any blooms the first year after planting. It just takes awhile for them to adjust. But Japanese Tree Peonies are a little different, in that they many times do bloom the first year. They have woody stems, unlike garden peonies, and they don't die back during winter, so you shouldn't prune them unless you want to control growth or change the form. I made sure to plant the 'knot' a couple of inches below soil level (because I live in a relatively cold climate) and mulched really well up around it that first winter.

Despite the TLC I gave it, I didn't get any blooms the following summer. Lovely lush foliage, but no blooms. Mom's 'Shima-nishiki' bloomed though. Figures.



This year is different. I came home from work last night and The Princess had flowered for the first time for me. Three blooms now with the promise of two more. The petals remind me of Oriental Poppies, in a way, with that tissue paper look to them. The pale pink color coupled with the multiple layers of petals and having been just kissed by a spring shower elicited oohs and aahs from me, one after another.





I now present to you, 'Sahohime'. . .






... and taken about 1:00 this afternoon, fully opened ...


I wish you could smell it, too. This is really just about as close to floral perfection as it gets!

EDIT: A picture of my mom's 'Shima-nishiki' tree peony is here.


15 comments:

Carol said...

She is pretty and worth the wait!

Robin said...

Oh! WOW! That is a beautiful flower! O.K. now I'm really not happy that mine hasn't bloomed for me.

Kylee said...

Have you had it long, Robin?

I really, really love this peony. I have another noid peony that I bought last year and it's going to bloom this year already, even though it's quite small. It looks like it will be a magenta color.

jodi said...

Kylee, I think that gorgeous plant is about as close to floral perfection as we can get. And I don't know that I can grow them up here on my cold hill, but i'm going to try this year with one. Your photographs are stunning...I could almost smell the fragrance!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh my, Kylee... the princess is indeed beautiful! Congratulations on your first tree peony bloom. :)

Do her leaves stay red-tinged around the edges, or is that from the earlier cold we had?

Kylee said...

jodi, I hope you can grow one! This particular one is hardy to -30°F.

Kim, if I remember right, it does keep the red edges. I'll see if I took any pictures of it last year. I don't think so, since it didn't bloom, but it seems like I remember the foliage looking like this.

Carol said...

That flower is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing it with us.

The only flowers we get here are ones that grow wild. My thumb is not green!

Muum said...

Thanks for sharing the great pics and story! It looks like it was worth the wait.

Kate said...

What a beautiful peony this is! The petals look like silk tissue paper. The colour is gorgeous ... I love the way the petal colour deepns toward the centre. Just gorgeous.

I would love to see a pic of your mum's sometime too!

Kylee said...

She said it's blooming right now, and I want to see it, too, so I'll have to get down there and take my camera! I promise to post a picture of it here on this post as an edit. :-)

KC MO Garden Guy said...

Congratulation!!! I remember when my tree peonie bloomed for the first time. I was like a proud father. That was 5 years ago and it get better every year. Well not this year the cold weather last month took are of all but 1 bloom. But that one bloom was as pretty as ever. But didn't get a picture of it to post.

Thanks for sharing.

Gotta Garden said...

You did good! I have a tiny one...maybe I'll see blooms in a few years...it was most unhappy with me for moving it last year, so I'm just glad it's alive! Anyway, yours is gorgeous and I'm happy to learn it's fragrant as well!

Trader Rick said...

I can smell them!!!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Wow, Kylee, that was well worth waiting for. What a lovely peony and it's scented too. What more could anyone ask for? Enjoy!!!!

ina said...

hallo ,i like your peony s there beautifull and your garden as well ! i am from holland ,it is the first time that i visit your blog ,it s raining here in holland and cold my peony s are not flowering yet ,i like them will you take a look at my blog ,it s in dutch but a have make a lott of photo s greetings from holland ina www.tuinfreakina130260.web-log.nl

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