What took so long?

Finally, after weeks of careful monitoring, two flowers of the Itoh peony ‘Bartzella’ (below) opened on Sunday. On Wednesday, petals of one bloom had fallen to the ground, and the second was fading quickly. A second peony ,’Karl Rosenfield’ (second photo below) began flowering earlier and will hang on at least for a few more days, I expect. Since peonies are notoriously short in bloom, the gardener is advised not to skip days touring the garden.

I am delighted to see flowers on ‘Bartzella’ after two years without, and several other peonies have been carelessly placed in slightly too much shade so growth is tall and spindly and flowers immediately arch to the ground, even in dry weather. The scrawny peonies should be easily transplanted, but well drained areas in full sun are a bit hard to come by, and always there are other priorities for sunny spots.

In recent years there have been no more than a few flowers on two Rhododendron myrtifolium (above), but this spring both are loaded. As is typically the case, I haven’t a clue why, and while I’ve been mildly disappointed when it had such a meager show, I am of course quite pleased today. Now that there are flowers, so there’s a reason to take a closer look, I notice lacebug damage on both rhododendrons. Larger leaf rhodos rarely suffer this problem that is common on azaleas, but the leaves of myrtifolium are no larger than most azaleas. I don’t treat for insect or disease problems that are quite rare despite no intervention on my part, and other than spoiling the attractive green foliage lacebugs are rarely a problem.

Flowers on the upper branches of ‘Chardonnay Pearls’ deutzia (above) were damaged by freezes a few weeks ago, but the lower half flowered nicely, and a second, smaller shrub in half sun flowered later so it was not damaged. This one is now fading as two deutzias, ‘Magician’ (or ‘Magicien’, below) and ‘Yuki Cherry Blossom’ (second photo, below) reach their peak. ‘Yuki’ was planted in ground that I feared might be too damp, but it survived the worst of it in its first year, so it’s probable it will make it.

I notice the first flower cluster on the ‘Moonlight’ Japanese hydrangea (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’, above) vine transplanted several years ago when I became impatient after it failed to flower in its previous spot. The foliage of ‘Moonlight’ is quite nice, so flowers are a bonus, and now that there is one flower perhaps there will be more in the future. The variegated ‘Miranda’ (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris ‘Mirranda’, below) is slowly climbing into a blackgum at the forest’s edge, and here the bright variegation is adequate even if it never flowers.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m intrigued by your hydrangea climbing up the tree! I have Moonlight, but it’s by a fence. I assume the vine won’t harm the tree? I’m constantly pulling other vines down from our large oak and others.

    1. Dave says:

      In this shaded spot it will be many years before the hydrangea vine amounts to much. I doubt it will ever be a problem, and certainly not in my lifetime.

  2. Ray says:

    What I like about my Itoh peony is that the blooms don’t come out at once. They open in slow progression, although I am not sure if this is specific to mine or to all.

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