Paeonia TOW - Part 1

James Waddick
Fri, 30 Jul 2004 11:23:21 PDT
Some comments from Jim McM;
	P. officinalis and indeed most all peonies, 'probably' prefer 
neutral to slightly alkaline soils ( facts about soils where peonies 
naturally grow are few). At least many species are found growing in 
limestone areas, some as high as a pH of 9.0. Some species 'tolerate' 
acidic soils, even as low as 5.5, but there is a big difference 
between a plant that tolerates your soil and one that thrives. Bone 
Meal and Groud limestone are suggested for most soils.

	And I think P. officinalis is more sensitive to soil moisture 
levels than some and would do better in a raised bed with good 
aeration and drainage.

	You report on expected species variation in flower bud frost 
tolerance. Some species can take extreme cold spells while in bud, 
while others simply die or stop from slight frosts.

	P peregrina is easily ID'd from the shape of the flower while 
P. m. arietina, a form of P. mascula, opens widely.

	P. wittmaniana has 2 subspecies- macrophylla and typical wittmaniana.

	Wister's book is technically excellent, though out of date. 
Still a bargain available from the American Peony Society 
exclusively. Stern's (1946) monograph is also excellent, out of date 
and wildly expensive.

	My popular choice is 'Peonies' by Al Rogers and I'd bet on an 
up coming Timber Press book by Martin Page due in spring of next year.

>One quibble: when Jim Waddick wrote:
>>These [tree peonies] have been cultivated for centuries, perhaps a
>millennium, in China and in the West for about 150 years.
>keep in mind that Paeonia suffruticosa has been grown in Western
>(specifically, English) gardens since the late eighteenth century - or
>about two hundred and fifteen years.

	I can quibble back. Although a very few (one or two) TP were 
in Kew in the mid-to late 1790s (and described much earlier), it was 
not until closer to the mid 1850's that they came into gardens more 
widely. A few early plants were in the hands of large pubic gardens 
and wealthy collectors. I think my 150 years of cultivation (since 
1850) stands as the generalization it was intended.

	No comment on pronunciation.

		Best		Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
E-fax  419-781-8594

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