Planting Time!

Peonies are some of my favorite flowers for their amazing beauty and sublime fragrance, and as such, I’ve written about them frequently (here, here, and here, for starters). One of peonies’ best features is how long-lived they are, surviving for decades with very little care.

Coppertop has a couple dozen peonies, ranging from herbaceous to intersectional (or Itoh) to one tree peony, allowing for a bloom period of well over a month in late spring and early summer. Part of their appeal to me is their preciousness due to their ephemerality. Oh, I do enjoy a good, hardy perennial that colorfully hangs around and faithfully blooms for months on end, but I treasure peony blooms because they are fleeting. Their limited season encourages us to indulge quickly and thoroughly! Varieties range from simple anemone styles to exuberant bomb styles, and now with the intersectional hybrids, colors range widely as well.

I’ve attended plenty of garden talks and lectures on peonies in the Pacific Northwest, and most refer to Adelman’s Peony Farm in Oregon as being a top source for tubers. I finally jumped in and ordered tubers from them about a month ago.

Fall is the very best time for planting peonies. I’d hoped to bulk up and extend their season here by filling some bare and sunny spots with new tubers. I love to think that these new peonies will outlive me, a legacy blooming for future generations. Once established correctly, peonies promise to get better year after year, and it’s important to plant peonies where they will thrive without being disturbed for many years. At least half of the new varieties will be planted with other young peonies in this large, full-sun, raised bed outside the kitchen. The bed has been prepped by the removal of many unimpressive hardy geraniums and catmint.

The box arrived a week ago, and it’s solid weightiness foretold the bounty within. Packed well in layer upon layer of peat, the tubers were enormous and healthy. All had at least five plump eyes, or growing points, and some had over 10. I unpacked them in the garage and laid them out on the nearby kayaks and deck railing to have their portraits taken 😉 .

The box contained six varieties I’d ordered: Madame Butterfly, Miss America, Morning Lilac, Sonoma Apricot, White Frost, and White Sands.

Madame Butterfly, lactiflora
Miss America, lactiflora
Morning Lilac, Itoh
Sonoma Apricot, Itoh
White Frost, lactiflora
White Sands, lactiflora

Now to get busy planting! Below I’ve included Coppertop’s updated list of peonies, Paeonia.

Variety, Quantity, SeasonTypeColorCoppertop
Alba Plena, 2, early-midlactiflorawhiteSoG, CHb
Bartzella, 1, midItohyellowKb
Big Ben, 1, early-midlactiflorapinkish redSoG
Black Beauty, 1-2, midlactifloradeepest redSoG, Kb
Bowl of Beauty, 1, late-midlactiflorapink w yellowKb
Bunker Hill, 2, early-midlactifloramagentaKb
Cora Louise, 1-2, midItohpalest pinkKb
Duchess de Nemours, 1, midlactiflorawhiteCHb
Festiva Maxima, 3, earlylactiflorawhite2SoG, Kb
Kinkaku, 1, earlytreepeachpatio pot
Madame Butterfly, 2, midlactifloramagentaPb
Miss America, 1, early-midlactiflorawhite w yellowCHb
Morning Lilac, 1, earlyItohlilacCHb
Sarah Bernhardt, 3+, latelactiflorapinkSoG
Sonoma Apricot, 1, midItohapricotKb
White Frost, 1, midlactiflorawhiteKb
White Sands, 2, midlactiflorawhiteChb, Kb
Wladyslawa, 3, early-midlactiflorabr. pink w yell.Kb
No ID (Philomele or Mdm Emile Debatene?), 2, latelactifloradeep pink Kb

6 thoughts on “Planting Time!

  1. Wow, you really do have a big collection. Your table is very useful and inspiring, as my peony list will also grow slowly this autumn and this is an excellent way to to retain an overview. I love the apricot one you chose, and the white really is a dazzling white. I hope they flower for you in their first year!


  2. There is a popular restaurant on Highway 5 through Oregon where I saw a big vase of peony flowers at the counter. When I commented on them, a waitress gave me a catalogue for Adelman’s, as if it were a common thing to do. It was amazing, but I do not grow peonies in the mild climate here. I will eventually try a few again, but they will be the common sorts that can be purchased locally. Some people can grow them here, although no one knows why some can, and others can not.

    Liked by 1 person

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