June 16, 2011

PEONIES... A story and a giveaway

Here in northern Illinois our peonies are on their last gasp and I am always sad to see them go. Others, will in succession, fill the gap. To me, nothing rivals that luscious heavily petaled globe of early summer.

Their loveliness adds life and energy to a room while taking center stage

Two thousand years of lore and legends from the Chinese to the Greek and the Romans abound.
 My favorite is this;
"peonies were considered to be filled with demons, you see as the plant was pulled it was said to scream. however the root was a natural teething ring and quite necessary. so dogs were tied to the plant with food just out of reach, ultimately to success" 

A favorite in my garden the 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Hung in my barns upper level which is stifling hot. Drying quickly in a hot dark spot preserves the blooms

A, tip that escaped me this year as they dried so fast;
When the peony or a rose is half dry take a blow dryer and pop it under the bloom giving it a blast. Immediately it "blows up" to it's full cabbage appearance. A great way to preserve peonies from your wedding bouquet 

Dried peony petals are beautiful to throw at a wedding

Now for the giveaway.......A generous and historically significant local family, the Klehm's are the founders of  'KLEHM'S SONG SPARROW, a nationally recognized mail order nursery. Part of the history of this family is that they are great hybridizers of peonies. By that it means that they take the best attribute of two different peonies and create  a new variety. A very labor intensive and trial by error endeavor with no guarantee of success. For this giveaway I wanted to only include varieties that they created.

For your chance to win, take a look at their catalogue and be amazed at the varieties of all species. So the nursery has generously offered one of the two peonies below as a gift to a reader. And all you need to do is comment and tell me your favorite plant  found in their on-line catalogue
-a bomb (full and multi petaled)
-late bloomer; would be starting about now
-zones 2-8
-short in stature; 18" equals strong upright stems

-Semi-double with a gorgeous 'eye of pollen' reminiscent of a tree peony
-very hard to find
-ruffled soft salmon and pink
-mid-season bloomer
-zones 2-8

                                                  Look forward to hearing from you!

NOTE:  your bare root plant will ship this fall.


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