Peony Progress

Here is our progress:

Feb 28th: (one month)

March 28th: (two month)

At this time, one of the peonies has died. (Madame)

The one above (Sorbet) has been the healthiest of the bunch as its located near a heater. The others have stagnated their growth. You can probably see the other Sorbet to the left which looks the same as it did in Feb. A combination of overcast skies and really cold weather has halted their growth this month.

April: 

We’ve decided to plant a few outside to test mild winter we’re having. They were starting to dry out inside, and we quickly planted them outside…. However, they seem to all have died down to the ground. I think we will see them next year. 

May:

I felt so diappointed with the bare root peonies that I decided to just buy potted peonies.

(Please don’t look at the bald patch of grass next to our raised bed!! I’m hoping to get some roses there later this week.


Part of the reason I bought 3 more potted peonies was because last year’s peony did so well! In the first week of June we saw our first bloom!!

For this year, this is the end of the show for peonies. I will update our progress next year. 

STRAWBERRIES!

I’m so excited! 

Our first harvest from our backyard strawberries have come in. A few months ago, we started our raised beds and placed some lettuce,  jalapenos, and green onions into the ground. We also planted 3 pineapple strawberries, and 9 regular strawberries inside a enclosed space surrounded by wire mesh. 

Due to the wildlife, we used mesh wire fencing to cover the strawberries and made a double door in the back to access the strawberries.  

We had to hand pollinate since we weren’t able to spot bees/flies inside helping with the work. It played of when I found this little guy a few weeks later!!

I initially thought it was a pineapple strawberry because it was so pale…

But it’s red! It was super sweet and delicious. I don’t know if I could go back to store bought strawberries after this. 

One of our pineapple strawberries died to the ground after a hard frost earlier in the spring,  but I’m seeing little green shoots coming out. There is hope that I will be able to taste this strange fruit this season! 

Tulips in April

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Thanks to a mild winter, tulips have come up early in Colorado! 

 I didn’t expect to see them so early, and the tulips in our front yard have already been sampled by Bambi. I’m setting up some mechanical deterrents as I don’t want to use chemical wards. Some people swear by garlic sticks, plastic forks, home made sprays, or comercial solutions, but I use fencing. It helps with lessening the impact of hail to my plants, and it’s a one and done solution. I dont have to worry about reapplication or possible adverse effects to my plants.

Take two!

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Dahlia roots are already being sold in my area. My failure of last year has not deterred me from making another attempt to grow them. After all, I had failed when the show was over, not while they were in bloom. 
The key is to buy them early, but not too early. Time it so that its early enough that they aren’t dried out in the store, and late enough that they don’t dry out while you wait for the danger of frost to pass. 

Easier said than done, right?

Last year, we bought our dahlias, and though they were good quality, they were looking a bit shriveled. This year, I went ahead and threw out the completely desicated roots of the previous season and bought some fat, happy dahlias. I placed them in some nice coconut husk and moisture retaining soil to wait for the right time to plant. 
I keep checking on them to make sure there’s no mold or dehydration. So far, so good.

This is a good example of a healthy, root. The tubers are plump, and are not wet. There are no wrinkles, and they are firm to the touch. Because it’s so dry here in Colorado, I have been misting them lightly when the soil seems dry. I’ve been paranoid and have been checking them weekly for rot. 


Since I work in addition to my hobby, I don’t have a lot of time to root around at my local garden centers. That’s why i bought my dahlias so early,  since I am particular about the type that we plant.

… So, full disclaimer!! You don’thave to be so obsessed about the conditions of your roots like I am. Most likely you will find a good dahlia at the right time to plant. (For us, its at the end of May, after Mother’s Day)
Just avoid roots that look thin, shriveled, or few in number. 

Hydrangea’s first bloom 

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It started with the discovery of this little bud. (3.11.2017)

And then I found more!

About 5 buds in total!! 

As time progressed, more and more buds started to appear. I eagerly awaited the beautiful blue flowers to emerge. But…

(3.19.2017)

White. Not blue, or pink. But small little white flowers started to emerge. I patiently waited, hoping that the color would change.

(3.22.2017)

And I continue to wait…

Herbaceous Peonies in Colorado

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I wanted to share a little more information on the types of peonies I’m attempting to grow.

There are four types of peonies that are availible.

1. Tree peony

2. Herbaceous peony

3. Intersectional peony 

4. Woodland peony

In addition to the four types, herbaceous peonies have several different flower types depending on their petal arrangement.

A. Single

B. Japanese

C. Anemone 

D.  Semi-double

E. Double

F. Bomb

If you’d like to know more about flower petal types, visit Hollingsworth Peony‘s website. 

I am focusing on herbaceous peonies hardy from zone 3-8, since they are perfect for Colorado seasons. The cold actually helps them with bud formation. They do not do well in warmer climates like the South. 

Don’t know your zone hardiness? Go to USDA.gov and enter your zip code.

Herbaceous peonies die back to the ground every fall. This is wonderful if you like to keep a clean flower bed during the winter. You can snip the stems about 1-3 inches off of the ground before the first frost, and you don’t have to worry about it until next year. 

Currently, I have four different cultivars.

1. Monseuir Jules Elie

Pink double bloom

2. Sarah Bernhardt 

Another pink double bloom

3. Sorbet

Pink and cream double bloom

4. Madame Emile Debatene*

Salmon pink double bloom

All four have the following characteristics:

  • Fragrant with double petal form flowers.  
  • Hardy to zone 3-8.  
  • Requires full sun and blooms from late spring to early summer 
  •  * Blooms from mid-spring to late spring.

Since Colorado has such harsh winds and a penchance for hail in the summers, double or bomb type flower petals would be best suited. The single petal varieties may not make it a day in our neighborhood. 

In 2017, Colorado Springs had category 1 and 2 hurricane winds. In 2016, we had hail storms that broke car windows and ripped the sides of houses.


This is no joke. If you want a peony in Colorado, choose wisely. 

Hydrangeas in Colorado

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I’ve  been in love with hydrangeas for years. However, living in zone 5b, hydrangeas have a hard time adjusting to our winters. They either die or never flower. 

You can look up your own plant hardiness zone information from this site: USDA.gov

So what are the options for Colorado?  

As far as I’ve seen, a good investment would either be Annabelle or Endless Summer varieties. 

Annabelle typically looks like this, and is white. I’m not the biggest fan of this variety.  

Endless Summer is… just ok. When I went to my local nursery, I was not impressed. Partly, it was because the people taking care of the hydrangeas didn’t do a good job with their stock of hydrangeas.  They were in a very hot greenhouse with bright unfiltered sunlight. All of the plants were suffering from the heat and were wilted. To make things worse,  many of the leaves and flowers were scorched brown due to the intense amount of light they were getting… There was sunlight in that greenhouse for days. 

The few that were in the shade were just not that pretty.. the flowers were just a bit too large and looked cheap once you were up close. From far away, they looked okay, but not worth the pricetag. 

I didn’t walk away empty handed though….

What did I get?

Meet Blue Enchantress. 

I was won over by the burgundy stems that made it look so elegant. The red contrasted beautifully with the rich green leaves and dainty flowers.

 This summer, she’ll turn two, and I hope she grows well in the new spot we’re placing her!

1.5 weeks later

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The progress that I’m seeing with my peonies is astonishing! Literally, they’re growing every day.
The problems that I’m faced with:

1. Wait a year to plant the peonies outside. This will establish a better root system, but during the winter they will not be exposed to the cold. This means I will have less blooms in the future.


 Also, they won’t bloom for about 4 years since I would have to transplant them the following year.

2. I could plant them in the late summer when the chance of frost has left. But I’d do this knowing that they will be weak and I may not see blooms for 4 or more years.

I’m so anxious to see my peonies flower, and I’ve scoured the internet to see what the right decision might be. 

IDK.

Unless there’s some devine intervention, I’m going to risk it and plant them in the summer. ( I’ve been told they do fine either way. I want them safely in the ground as soon as possible. ) 

Plus, in the house they only get 3-5 hours of sunlight which I don’t think is enough… so out they go!!


After 1.5 weeks, this is what they look like:

… did you notice the black planter plot?

Yeah? Well… I may have bought more peonies. I can’t control myself. I was walking past the few roots that were left in the store and somehow, they ended up in my cart.

I have no idea where I’m going to plant all of them.

*sigh*

I see a lot of digging in my near future.

Now is not the time for Peonies

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It’s February.


It’s supposed to be snowing, cold, and dreary. Normally we’d be knee deep in snow and have some of the worst storms until May… but what? 70 degrees in the middle of winter? 

It doesn’t feel like winter.  It feels like spring,  and my flowers agree.

All my daffodils have come up early and died in a subsequent frost this January. I’m hoping my tulips will fare better.

On a happier note, against all well given advice, I’ve broken down and planted some peony roots. I know that you’re only supposed to plant them in the fall, but it feels like early fall and thats good enough for me.

Here’s our progress so far!

Day one. Dirt. Wet dirt.

More dirt you say? Nay, non-believers. I see a sprout.

itty.bitty

See. Its got the fluffy fringes and everything!!!

I may be crazy, but so is the weather.
Here’s to two more years of looking at shoots before my flowers come in!

Dahlia Disaster

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It’s the day after Valentines day and I completly forgot about my dahlias. I’m so disappointed since they had the most beautiful blooms last summer. These were some of the samples of the dahlias that were grown in the summer of 2016. 

I had placed them in some coconut husk and peat moss and stored them in a cool dry area in my basement. I remember telling myself to check on them later in the week… I swear I was going to take good care of the roots- especially after the back breaking effort it took to get them out of the ground!! 

By the time I remembered to check on them… it was too late. God they look pathetic.

My current obsession is cultivating some peonies, and maybe I’ll have some better luck with them this year!! I’ll keep a lookout for more dahlias in the spring. I promise not to kill this next crop… …