Friday, May 20, 2011

Peonies and Orchids

Sorbet Peony

The peonies are blooming and I am soooo happy to be able to enjoy not only their beauty but their scent. The peony scent takes me back to my childhood and never fails to make me happy.

Duchesse de Nemours Peony
This year has been a fabulous year for peonies even with all of the rain. Yes, some were beat down but most of my peonies chose to open their smiling faces after the heavy rains passed. Here are a few for my blogging friends and family.

 'Sarah Bernhardt ' Peony
I wish I could pick a favorite but I guess I love all peonies. I recently did a swap of peonies with my good friend Naomi. She actually dug a tree peony in order to separate an herbaceous peony from it for me! The type of gardener who separates her peonies for another is very rare. I, of course, let her dig my plants too. I do not normally allow many folks to do this. Naomi is one good gardener though and my garden is enriched because of her generosity. Both the peony she gave me and her tree peony she kept suffered a lot of trauma. They will not be showcased today:(

 Unknown Red in Front Sidewalk Garden
Another kind gardener who lives south of me here in a small town called Palmyra shared a red peony with me. I've never ever met so many generous gardeners! I think peonies are the ultimate to share I have to admit that I've not shared mine with anyone-yet. That is due to change this fall when Naomi gets her piece of a peony and my daughters get a start of a few as well. I might have shared with some folks but honestly my peonies are just now getting to the 'share' point. It's not that I wouldn't share it's just that I couldn't-honest! This peony has very rich color and is paired with a very rich iris. 'May Night' salvia grows in front of the peony.
 'Duchesse de Nemours'
I hate photographing anything white. My poor 4.0 megapixel point and shoot camera just cannot pick up the subtle shades of white flowers. It did pick up the petals of this peony in the close up white peony showcased above.


A long view of a few of the peonies here. I think I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 peonies. There are four in this bed though you can see only two. Sometimes you see peony borders where peonies are all massed together in a long bed. I tried this but did not like the effect. For my garden I prefer to mix the peonies in with other perennials. Here in the south peonies can take a bit of shade too; which is great for my borders since none are in full sun.


Finally we have some hardy ground orchids. My sister Dawn first posted on these lovelies a few years ago on this very blog. This post is still an often Googled post that many people enjoy. 

I purchased my ground orchids from the Don Shadow Nursery last fall. These are botanically known as Bletilla striata or simply ground or Chinese ground orchids. They are hardy here in Tennessee but are only reliably hardy to Zone 6, possibly to Zone 5 with protection. My sister is in Zone 5 so she is smart to keep her orchids in the house. These orchids need a winter dormancy period. I have mine growing in a new garden area I just created last year when we removed our swimming pool. It is paired with a fabulous dark dark purple dwarf iris I received from a kind blogger in Texas. You can just see a bud opening in the background. The pink and purple are a perfect pairing!

Lastly, a close up of the orchid. I may have an old 4 megapixel camera but every now and then the two of us-my camera and I-get a great shot-and I love this one! This shot and the one previous one does not have any extra lighting-it is all natural and not retouched in any way.

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Aren't whites the worst when your camera is like mine, a trusty point and shoot - your peonies shine through though, even the whites. Anticipating a move to z7, those ground orchids are one of the first things, along with camellias, I look forward to growing! Lovely images.

  2. Peonies are on my "hunt down" list for next spring. Beautiful images here.

  3. I had two peonies bloom this year! I have 5 of them, but I'm thinking of moving a couple since I don't like where they are located. I also bought 5 more this spring. I was thinking about what you said with having them all in a row, but now that I think about it I probably wouldn't like it either. All of my plants are more on the wild side! Mixed in with others.
    One of mine that bloomed was that same color of red, so if you find out the name please let me know. All of yours are just gorgeous!

  4. Cyndy, Those whites are difficult for sure. Them and low light situations drive me nuts but every now and then. Nonetheless I love my little camera. Let us know how you do with a new one.

    Darla, They are fairly easy to find in packages in places like Walmart. That is where I got a lot of mine and those bargain bare roots grow well.

    Ulrike, I am pretty sure the red one is Karl Rosenfield peony. An old cultivar. Check it out. It used to be with older gardeners, I believe, that they had peony borders. I think that has gone out of style. At least in my humble opinion. There are still a few of these borders around here and they are truly glorious sights when in bloom. They need to be the only thing in the border to really be effective but then what happens when the peonies are not in bloom? In my garden I've decided to mix them in and am much happier with the effect. Last year they were all together but now separate. I do repeat them around. Thanks so much for stopping in.

  5. Good Morning! Going to be a hot one today and the humidity is moving back to GA. Sigh, windows will be closed and AC turned on. More money out the door....

    White flowers are so difficult to capture on film. I have passed a post or two due to not being able to snap a good pic of a flower.

    I have the TV on and just spotted a Raggedy Andy in a toy chest on a segment of the Today’s Show. You know that Orchid is not the only thing putting Dawn on my mind today!

    That Red Peony sure does bring back the memories girl. I got my 4 peony at Wally World in those packages as well. I will look for the red one as I love yours! The full peony in pots at the garden centers are so pricey that I will not buy one. I can get several plants for the price of one peony. Yikes, not going to pay that price….

    Have a good weekend! You know what we will be doing…

  6. I love Peonies too Tina, mine are finishing up now. 'Sorbet was a new addition to my garden a couple of years ago, but it hasn't bloomed yet. It was a small root that was a free gift with a purchase. :)

  7. The peonies seem to bring back special memories of grandmothers and I tell you Tina, I know your grandmother is looking down and smiling while telling everyone else, Those are my granddaughters peonies! They are gorgeous!!

    That orchid is stunning, just stunning.

  8. Ooh, your pictures make me so excited for when my peonies bloom in a few weeks. I've been on a peony-buying kick lately and have lots of babies that probably won't bloom this year. Sigh. But I think a few that I got from friends are going to bloom for the first time this year - hooray! And there are buds on both of my Itohs.

  9. I always covet everyone else's peonies! What gorgeous, fabulous blooms! The orchids always seem so exotic to me, too!

  10. Thanks Tina. I have some sad news on my blog, I really think Skeeter needs to know.

  11. Hello all.
    Tina your Peony's are out of this world. I love them. Brought a couple back from N.C. several yrs ago but sadly they didn't make it. I will try again.
    Love that orchid too.

  12. I have the red "unknown" variety as well -- they were here when we moved here. They haven't bloomed yet, which is fine, because it's raining today (shocker!)

    Yours are beautiful. :)

  13. Lovely collection of peonies. Now it is on my wishlist.

  14. Beautiful! I am in the second year of the first three years of putting peonies in the beds. I have never had peonies and cannot wait until i get my first blooms.

  15. So nice that you have so many peonies. I have just one and I think this year it will really show off. It has slowly increased the number of blooms each year.

  16. That is a gorgeous photo of the orchid! Thirty peonies--wow! I just bought my first one this spring, and it looks like I will have to wait for another year before it blooms. I like your idea of planting of them as specimens here and there rather than a mass planting. I used to see lots of borders of just peonies, but after they bloomed, there was nothing.

  17. Beautiful yet sort of a sorrowful reminder for me. When we move from the sunny hill into our new house in the woods I had to leave all my peonies behind. They were among my very favorites.

  18. Orchids? Get out! So ridiculously jealous right now that I've covered that deadly sin all the way through. I grow them indoors, fight the mites, you know how it is. How is Skeeter? I miss Skeeter? She was working on a bath reno project a while ago and *poof*, off she went. Send kisses to her from me, and kiss that orchid, too!

  19. tina

    I'm so happy to see your beautiful and gorgeous peonies again. Of them, pink ones are beyond fabulous. Yes. You are right. The scent of peonies is not so strong as that of lilies but it is really GREAT!

  20. Gorgeous...I can imagine the heavenly smell..

  21. Super blooms, now I'm looking forward to see what my peonies look like. Also they'll need support if I ever get flowers. Husband got bulbs last year, no buds yet.

  22. Your peonies are beautiful! I just have 2 so far, Festiva Maxima and Raspberry Sundae. The Sorbet peony looks delicious. :)

  23. I LOVE, LOVE peonies. 30+! OMG!
    I'm happy to see your ground orchids. Tartarus ate mine! We forgave him since the poor old coot of a dog is 15 years old.

  24. Absolutely beautiful photos. The dark pink and leaves me breathless. I must acquire a few!