Paeonia mascula

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 07:40:47 PDT
The few times I've seen species of Paeonia I've been enchanted but 
always thought where I live in Northern California I wouldn't be able 
to grow them. Then I saw one in a garden in South Australia where I 
was told it bloomed before the summer heat set in and then remained 
dormant in summer. Early in the history of this list I organized 
Topics of the Week for almost 2 and a half years and Jim Waddick who 
is an expert on this genus and who has written a  book about it was 
kind enough to provide wonderful introductions.
<… >

He encouraged me to try some of the Mediterranean species and a kind 
member of this list shared seed. Several people provided suggestions 
for growing it from seed. So in January 2005 I planted seeds. A year 
later they started germinating. After several years of growth I 
planted a number of plants in the ground, hoping that this would be 
one genus I wouldn't have to grow in containers. After their dormancy 
none of them ever came back. I had hedged my bets however and still 
had a few in containers. Although I lost some of these as well, 
others have come back each year and in the last month have started 
shooting out once again. In 2010 the first bloomed, a Paeonia mascula 
with Sicilian origins. I was thrilled. Unlike Jim McKenney, I live in 
a climate not so hot in summer, so the flowers lasted longer for me 
than they do for him. If any of you wrote about it, I didn't 
remember, that it isn't just the flowers that make this plant so fun 
to grow. It's the fruit and the seeds. So it was months of enjoyment 
watching the pods form and eventually split and then seeing the 
seeds. I've added a series of photos to the wiki:

I don't know if any of my plants will bloom again, but this once gave 
me enormous pleasure and without the helpful generous people of this 
list it is unlikely to have happened. I am very grateful.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers  

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