December 1, 2008

An experiment with my tree peony seeds

You may remember reading my blog last June when I showed you photos of my incredible tree peony blossoms. Unlike herbaceous peonies, which die back to the ground every fall, tree peonies are woody-stemmed shrubs that produce large and elegant flowers. I have always loved tree peonies and have a long border planted in the semi-shade of giant maples in varying shades of lavenders and pinks. Many of these specimens were transplanted from my Turkey Hill garden and miraculously, they survived the move extremely well.

This fall, my gardeners and I decided to try a little experiment and grow tree peonies from seed. That sounds easy but the process takes time (about three - five years) and the steps are kind of involved. For example, once the seeds are planted, the containers are placed in sealed plastic bags and set in a warm location, where the plants will begin to grow after about three months. After that happens, the plants are moved to a cold spot, like a refrigerator, where they will rest until spring, when it’s warm enough to plant them in the ground. Then, it’s nurture, nurture, nurture……..when, after four or five years, the plants should begin to produce gorgeous blooms. Oh, I can’t wait!

Here’s an exceptional source for tree peonies:
Klehm's Song Sparrow
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