While I was visiting gardens in Chicago and Cleveland over the past few weeks, my own garden marched on, each flower having its own season. Already, both the irises and peonies have seen their best days and we're on to summer's flowers.
Last weekend, Van Wert, Ohio celebrated their annual Peony Festival. Few people outside the area know that Van Wert used to be considered the Peony Capital of the World. (Check out this 1916 article from The New York Times!) Large peony farms used to be dotted throughout the area and several peonies were hybridized there and named cultivars developed, such as 'Jubilee.'
They were in their heyday in the 1930s, but even today, large plots of peonies can be found without having to look too far. After all, the peony can live for a hundred years! Drive through Van Wert and the surrounding countryside, and it would be easier to count the residences that don't have peonies growing there than counting those that do.
Even our own home, built in 1975 and purchased by us in 1977, had a peony growing in its yard when we moved here. The older home across the road has a whole row of red ones with pinks and whites scattered here and there. The original white one in our yard is still here and still blooming, as part of the infamous Peolac.
First to bloom is the Fernleaf peony (Paonia tenuifolia).
Then comes the tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa), which perhaps have the most glorious blooms of any peony. They're certainly the largest. My 'Sahohime' produced 39 blooms this year, its fifth in my garden.
Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)'Shimanishiki' in its first year of bloom. It's supposed to be streaked with white, but the only sign of white is on the edges of the petals, so I'm wondering if it wasn't mislabeled. There were two blooms this year, both identical. We'll see what it does next year, when it will be a more mature plant. Even if it doesn't ever look like it's supposed to, the soft cherry color is gorgeous.
I have another deep pink tree peony, but it didn't bloom this year. Last year, it had a couple of nice blooms. That's okay, the white dogwood tree was back to its non-flowering ways this year, too.
The white bloom on the Peolac.
Here, it appears that this bloom, also on the Peolac, is a pale pink on the outer petals. I wish I knew which peony it actually is. It's very fragrant, having a scent just like that of a traditional rose.
This is my favorite herbaceous peony that we've got. It's called 'Charles Burgess' and it was screaming my name a couple of years ago, as I was checking out at nearby Beining Nursery. Places like that know exactly what they're doing when they put eye candy like this right by the cash register!
An unknown, but common, herbaceous peony in Max's Garden. There are a couple of these growing there and they actually still have some decent-looking blooms on them. Its blooms are quite dense and they have no fragrance.
'Sarah Bernhardt' is familiar to just about everyone who's into peonies. It's slightly fragrant.
Next year, I hope to have blooms on my new ones - 'Cincinnati,' which I bought guess where?, 'Bowl of Beauty' (a Walmart special), and 'Moonlit Purple Lotus,' which I got from Peony's Envy when I was at the Cincinnati Flower Show. I look forward to seeing blooms on a new orange tree peony, too.
'Edith Wolford' is an older German Bearded Iris, but the awesome color combination assures that it will remain popular.
Dutch Iris 'Oriental Beauty' has been around for awhile in my garden, and is a reliable bloomer.
Unknown Dutch Iris
'Flight of the Butterflies' is a Siberian iris that likes the moist conditions near the little pond in Max's Garden. I can see how it got its name. When there's a breeze, the falls flutter in a way similar to Quaking Aspens, and like fluttering butterfly wings.
I'm not sure if this is a Japanese or Siberian iris. It spreads quickly and I've shared it several times.
'Red at Night'
'Red at Night' under surveillance by Boo
Big Box Store labeled as 'Fall Fiesta,' but obviously it's not. I like it quite a bit, though, as it makes a dramatic statement in the garden, with its combination of dark and pastel colors.
German Bearded Iris 'Princesse Caroline de Monaco' was yet another trap set for me by those folks over at Beining Nursery. This nearly glows in the early evening light and is one of my favorites.
'Princesse Caroline de Monaco'
Now, to find an orange one like the one I saw in Carolyn Gail's garden at Spring Fling...