Friday, May 21, 2021

Paeonia veitchii

Paeonia veitchii (Veitch's peony) is one of my favorite peonies. I love the flowers & the leaves. It's a species of herbaceous perennial peony. It grows to about 30 inches tall & 30 inches wide, with slow & limited spread. It has a thick taproot & thin side roots, with deeply incised leaves divided into pointed segments. It has 2 to 4 slightly nodding flowers per stem. The flowers can be various shades of pink. It blooms in my Seattle garden for about 3 weeks from late May into early June. The seed pods are said to be decorative, but mine have never developed seeds. Like most peonies, it can live for decades. Unlike most hybrid peonies, it does not need staking. It is native to central China where it grows in relatively moist & partly shaded locations in open forest, grassy forest margins, between shrubs & on alpine meadows to almost 13,000 feet. It grows quite well in my garden, near sea level with afternoon sun. It can grow in no shade at all, but needs regular water in any location, even more water in full sun. I think it looks best between other perennials, ferns or small shrubs like heath, heather or Hebe. Mine grows with Alchemilla mollis (lady's mantle). I live in  Zone 8. It is also said to thrive in Zone 7 & Zone 6. It has been available from Far Reaches Farm. I got mine at one of the big spring plant sales in Seattle.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Paeonia mascula

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

Paeonia mascula is my favorite peony. I've always preferred single peonies to those with big balls of petals. Single peonies & species peonies don't need to be supported. In my Seattle garden, Paeonia mascula blooms for about 10 days in mid-May. The flowers are 4 to 5 inches wide when fully open. Each flower lasts about 5 days before the petals begin to fall.  Even though the bloom is so fleeting, I wouldn't be without Paeonia mascula.  When I moved, I got more for my new garden.  Not only are the flowers beautiful, but the foliage is handsome throughout the season & colorful in fall.  The seeds pods are impressive when closed & colorful when open. The open pods have been called "jewel boxes."

Paeonia mascula grows to about 2 feet wide & 18 inches tall, with leaves that are divided into 3 oval leaflets. Flowers can be various shades of pink, sometimes verging on purple or red.  They can also be almost white. Paeonia mascula grows well in full sun or part shade with regular, light watering.  Soil should never be soggy. It grows very well in my zone 8 garden.  It is said to grow in zones 5 to 10, but probably is most successful in zones 7 & 8. Paeonia mascula is native from Spain to Iraq including France, Italy, the Balkans, Cyprus & Turkey. In its natural habitat, it grows between bushes in meadows & on hills. It also grows in oak, pine & beech forests. Paeonia is named for Paeon, the Greek god of healing & mascula comes from the Latin word for male.