Paeonia mascula

Jim McKenney
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 11:56:29 PDT
Congratulations, Mary Sue, for having grown a peony from seed to bloom. I would say that that puts you into a rather exclusive club, about as exclusive as that for people who have raised trilliums from seed to bloom. And as you know, I share your enthusiasm for Paeonia mascula and peonies in general. The next month here will see the foliage of these plants go through an amazing and beautiful transformation. Peonies are worth collecting for their foliage alone: at one extreme are the plants such as the ones sometimes called macrophylla, at the other extreme are the ones of the tenuifolia group. The sometimes leaden,  sometimes highly colored foliage of the tree peonies is a show in itself. Ranunculaceous plants in general have some of the best foliage in the garden when seen early in development.
As in most years, Paeonia mascula will be the first peony to bloom in the garden here this year. The buds have started to open just a bit and I can see color. Some hybrid herbaceous peonies will be close seconds, unless P. emodi speeds up during the next week.
I looking over the tree peonies in the garden, I see a lot of dead wood this year. I've never seen so much dead wood on tree peonies here. Some plants seem to have lost a third or more of their above ground growth. One or two show no sign of life above ground yet. It's a rare thing for a tree peony to die.  
Thanks again, Mary Sue, for singing the praises of a favorite plant. 
Jim McKenney

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