Lifestyle

Burnett: Now is time to watch for blooming peonies

The spectacular colour show continues with the hawthorns, viburnums, rhododendrons and the fabulous Japanese tree peonies which are my main plant topic this week.

When most people think of peonies, they think of the common garden herbaceous peony that freezes to the ground each winter and comes back from the root.

There are dozens of varieties and a few species of this great plant that bloom in May, June or July depending on the variety.

The tree peony or Paeonia suffruticosa is not really a tree but rather a bush or shrub and some varieties can grow up to 2.5m tall.

Sometimes you will see huge blooms 30cm across but most average half that which is still impressive.

The colours range from various shades of red, pink and yellow to deep mauve and of course white.

When the plant is not in bloom it makes a lovely shrub with its dark green leather like foliage and peeling bark on its older wood.

If there is one negative to this plant it may be that it does not bloom for a very long time.

In a season where the weather is on the cool side the blooms may last for two and a half weeks but when the weather is warmer than normal you can knock a week of that.

Even though the blooming period is short the tree peony is still a wonderful plant to have in any garden.

Over the years of selling plants to people I hear the comment so often that the desire is to have something that blooms all summer and anything that only blooms for a couple of weeks is not wanted.

For those that think this way all I can say is you are cheating yourselves from a treat that is perhaps appreciated more so because of its short blooming term.

I for one get bored with masses of petunias blooming all summer long.

I love watching the changing colour in the garden from early spring to fall and when the tree peonies are in bloom it is a special time.

I recently heard the improvements to Gellatly road along the lake do not include the fabulous Katsura trees that have finally are just getting a foothold.

I have been watching these trees from the time they were planted several years ago and they have had their ups and downs but now for the most part I believe they are thriving better than ever.

Katsura is a favourite of mine and I often send folk to see them along the lakeside drive when they are looking for an example.

I sure wish there was some way to change the plan to take them out.

***

Have you ever considered a worm bin to compost those vegetative kitchen scraps?

Join Mel Andersen, long time operator of  All Things Organic, and learn how to turn household green waste into “Black Gold” by using Red Wiggler worms.

Anderson will explain the use of worm composters, and explore the different types of worms used for this purpose.

The workshop happens Wednesday, June 13,  7:30 p.m., at the Seniors Centre #17, 1353 Richter St.

Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 from 8 to 10 a.m.

 

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