Spring Hill Nursery Garden Peonies

 It's definitely peony season here in my landscape...so many gorgeous varieties for not only enjoying outside as I walk the garden, but also for cut flowers to bring inside to enjoy. This spring, early summer here in the Seattle area has been filled with so much rain. everything is a bit watered down which has weighed most of the foliage and heavy blooms of my peonies down. So, cutting and bringing them inside to enjoy is most important this year. 

The most common variety of peonies we all see in most gardens is the herbaceous peonies that are all pictured below.  This type of peony becomes a larger rounded shaped shrub. This variety of peony generally takes two to three years before seeing any blooms, which means you want to make sure you chose a spot in your landscape carefully when planting. If you have to disturb the roots more time anxiously awaiting blooms isn't ideal. When planting you want to be sure root is just below the surface. The root system requires it to be exposed to very cold temperatures. If the roots are planted too deep the plant will produce foliage however, you may see little to no blooms.  I remind myself that those cold days of low temperatures is worth living through so we can see peonies in the late spring.  As you can see in the above photo that we had a horribly cold winter and spring, but the abundance of peony blooms shows that the roots are happy. There are so many gorgeous colors of herbaceous of peonies, i seem to have gravitated towards planting the lighter pink colors in my landscape. Peonies such as Shirley Temple, Sorbet, Felix Crousse, Bowl of Beauty and Sarah Bernhardt. The anticipation of waiting for these blooms to appear is like Christmas for me. Over the years I have added more darker colors and many whites as well. Herbaceous peonies provide great filler foliage int the garden landscape and gorgeous fall color. In late fall, once brown is when I cut foliage right down to the base of the plant.




Tree peonies are another variety of peony. Tree peonies have more of a woody upright cane that produces absolutely huge dinnerplate blooms much earlier than the other peonies in the garden. The blooms on tree peonies may last a few weeks if you are lucky. Because the blooms come from old wood, I generally do not cut this variety for a cut flower...I have found enjoying them outside is just as nice. The foliage does die back in the fall on this variety but do leave the canes through winter. This past week I did give my tree peony a good hard prune due to how tall it was getting. The amount of rain fall we have had here in my area gave the shrub a very untidy look and I was worried that it may break the branches and create an undesirable shape for next year's plant.  

In the past several years I've added a more diverse range of Itoh Peonies.  These are also known as intersectional peonies. They are a cross between the herbaceous and tree peony. The canes look more like the tree version of the peony, but the foliage is more like the herbaceous. And these do require to be cut down to the ground in late fall. They are a more recently developed shrub and highly sought after due to their durability. Like tree peonies, the price of some of these plants are on the higher spectrum and can range from twenty five dollars to hundreds. I have learned to not plant them in the background of a garden bed as they seem to get lost in the other plants and shrubs. I like to see them right up front and center to enjoy their amazing blooms.  The two below are Oochigeas, Kieko and Bartzella Itoh Peonies.

Because one can never have too many peonies during the growing season, I recently ordered several more Peonies to add to my garden landscape. You are probably wondering who my source is and what I am adding. Whenever I add more to my garden, I remind myself what I do this year is for next year. So I'm careful and do a lot of research before planting more...as I've realized the real estate in my landscape is becoming less and less.  Because my garden is so densely planted I wait for many of my spring perennials to die back before adding more. I'll buy early and pot up in a planter and add in later summer early fall. Which seems to be enough time to allow the roots to get established for next years garden. Also these new plantings won't get lost under all the foliage.  


I found everything I was looking for at Spring Hill Nursery. Ironically, they were my go-to online nursery where i purchased several of my plantings when I first started my garden in 2006.

The peonies I am adding is as follows. Belle Toulousaine Itoh Peony ...When she arrived, she was dormant...merely a little tuberous rhizome and once planted began sprouting life in just a few weeks. Like I said above, I planted mine in containers for the time being so I can see them thrive and then I will plant them directly in the ground later this year. If my garden wasn't so dense, I would go ahead and plant them directly now. I know I will have to wait a few years to see the beautiful blooms but I am already looking forward to seeing them and adding them to my garden bouquets.


Next I am sharing one I can't wait to see bloom, and that one is the Julia rose Itoh Peony. Again, this arrived in a dormant state and will someday be so gorgeous. Now remember, any and all peonies regardless of their variety love full sun, will bloom in late spring/early summer and will need approximately three feet both high and wide of space to grow into. 

And the last Itoh peony i ordered is Watermelon Wine. I mean, look at the color! I am so amazed at the amount of beauty that peonies give to any landscape. Planting now will give you all of these blooms sooner than later. Honestly I am surprised that this one is even in stock because it's so new and it's on sale right now!


The three herbaceous peonies I'm adding for next year's cutting garden is Festiva Maxima, Duchesse de Nemours and Madame Emile Debatene. these are pictured below in order. Ordering now for fall planting is the best way to order. It will give you time to figure out where you wish you had peonies in your own gardens. As I said earlier, peonies gives you a full season of showing off, from the gorgeous buds to the showy flowers, great foliage filling in the landscape and then in the fall you get a fall scene with all the bright oranges, yellows and reds.  Click here to order the bundle of these beauties. 



When your Peonies arrive for fall planting you can either do as I am doing, and plant in a container until you are ready to plant in the ground. Or you can plant directly in the ground and allow the roots to begin getting established. As you can see from the first picture below, new growth is appearing...this is the part that gets planted just under the surface of the earth (no more than two inches). The second photo is what my plants currently look like. I always tape the label of the name on the side of the pot for reference, and write where I planted in my garden journal when it actually goes in the ground.




Happy planting! 

Happy to answer any questions you may have, please post your questions in the comments section.


xoox, tracie


Barbara said…
Hi Tracie, such beautiful additions to your garden! Two of my peonies suffered from something called Peony leaf blotch this year. Black spots all over the leaves. I'm thinking I need to cut it back before fall and get rid of the diseased leaves. Any suggestions? Thank you!

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