Brian Minter: Competition celebrates the eagerness for peonies – Vancouver Solar


Peonies have lengthy been a favorite backyard perennial and due to their excessive hardiness, they are often loved proper throughout our nation. As soon as established, they’re one of many longest-living crops, offering a lifetime of backyard enjoyment and a bounty of beautiful reduce flowers.

Lately, their reputation has exploded, and the demand is so robust that floral wholesalers are importing them year-round. On the flower public sale in Burnaby, it’s common to see single blooms promote for $four to $5 a stem — and that’s the wholesale value.

This demand is primarily pushed by youthful individuals who have a ardour for the attractive, aromatic peony blooms.  Regardless of many new hybrids, the old-time Paeonia lactifloras, many developed over 100 years in the past, are inflicting the thrill.  Among the many greatest golden oldies are Paeonia ‘Felix Crousse’, a wealthy crimson; P. ‘Festiva Maxima’, a completely double white with tiny crimson flecks; and P. ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, a deep rose pink.

We’re in the course of peony season, and this month the Canadian Peony Society’s Nationwide Peony Competition is going down in Castlegar. The society, established in Ontario in 1998, was shaped to lift consciousness of this lovely plant.

Holly Pender-Love talks concerning the Canadian Peony Society’s Nationwide Peony Competition.

I just lately spoke with Holly Pender-Love, a past-president of the society and a spokesperson for this annual present.

Based on Pender-Love, Canadians have made many contributions to the peony world.  The Analysis Station in Ottawa has a present assortment of over 500 peonies.  Different centres in Canada additionally preserve wonderful collections.

The Nationwide Peony Competition is a ‘should attend’ for anybody keen about peonies.  It opens June 20 with a tour of the Slocan space, together with New Denver’s Japanese Reflection Backyard, the positioning of an internment camp through the Second World Conflict.  The tour will journey by ‘bear alley’, well-known for bear sightings, and on to to Kaslo to go to the S. S. Moyie, B.C.’s final steamship which provided the small cities on Kootenay Lake.

June 21 is peony arrange day, and all entries are welcome. On the B.C. provincial present final 12 months there have been over 325 entries, and Pender-Love is hoping for over 500 at this nationwide present.  The U.S. will probably be properly represented, and the president of the U.S. Peony Society will probably be there from Mt. Hood, Oregon.

On June 22, the gathering of peonies will probably be judged.  Reiner Jakubowski, the registrar of the American Peony Society and an skilled peony breeder would be the head decide, and will probably be a speaker on the present.

As soon as the awards are introduced, there will probably be a roster of different professional presenters and gross sales of peony roots and seeds. Carol Adelman, one of many key audio system, grows 25 acres of peonies in Salem, Oregon, and she or he co-wrote, with David C. Michener, the e book Peonies — the Finest Varieties for Your Backyard.

Peony design competitions, each skilled and beginner, and bloom gross sales on the finish of the Competition will probably be a part of the enjoyable.

The nationwide peony competition is in Castlegar this 12 months.

Minter Nation Backyard /


I requested Pender-Love what she’s realized from her lengthy expertise rising peonies.

“Six hours of sunshine is required to develop peonies efficiently, and most varieties needs to be planted shallow, about two inches deep,” she defined.  “Don’t count on flowers for a number of years, particularly when planting smaller roots with one to a few eyes.”

“Good air circulation is important, so don’t crowd them.  Depart about two toes on both facet to assist stop illnesses like botrytis.  You may, nevertheless, nonetheless companion plant, and I like to make use of early-blooming bulbs, like chionodoxa, martagon lilies and Oriental lilies, to maintain that spot in my backyard wanting good.”

Q. What about soil?

A. “Many of us suppose it’s necessary to not have a wealthy soil for peonies for worry they’ll turn out to be too vegetative and never produce sufficient blooms.  I haven’t discovered that to be the case. Peonies like a very good, well-draining soil that has been totally labored up so the roots can develop deep, particularly in areas with lengthy, scorching summers.”

Q. How do you feed your peonies?

A. “With a very good, well-balanced, slow-release bulb fertilizer.”

Q. Do you divide your peonies each few years?

A. “No! They’re greatest left alone.  Perhaps after 10 or so years you possibly can divide them within the fall however maintain at the least three to 5 eyes in every division.”

Q. When buying a peony, is there something to look at for?

A. “Autumn is the best time to plant them. They’re very hardy and have a very good likelihood to get established over the winter.  In the event you plant them from seed, it could take 5 to eight years to get blooms, so buying roots with a very good variety of eyes is definitely higher.  To keep away from mislabelled varieties, buy container-grown peonies in bud or bloom to make sure you are getting the proper color.”

Q. What are your favourites?

A. “There are such a lot of good ones, and every has its personal distinctive traits.  I like the fragrance of the outdated Paeonia lactifloras.  Nevertheless, many thrilling new hybrids are being launched annually. The shrubby intersectional hybrids, particularly the ‘itoh’ peonies, provide many lovely new colors. The woodier peonies have a tendency to supply extra flowers over an extended interval.  They’re costly, costing $80 to $100 for a novel plant. The yellow ones are highly regarded. … “Tree peonies, too, have gotten more and more well-liked.  Rising two to 6 toes tall, they’re actually shrubs.  Out there in a stunning vary of colors, their blossoms usually measure ten to 12 inches throughout.”

For full competition particulars, go to

At the moment, there are such a lot of decisions for any backyard, and by planting a few of every peony kind, you possibly can prolong the blooming interval as much as seven weeks.

In the event you love peonies and reside close to or will probably be visiting Castlegar, this nationwide present is a should. You’ll see a tremendous collection of peonies … and perhaps discover that uncommon one you’ve been chasing for years.

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