Peonies and Whirlwind Days of Planting

June 20th, 2013 Comments Off

Paeonia lactiflora 'Kansas' in Aletha Soule Vase - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Paeonia lactiflora ‘Kansas’ in a Pitcher by California Artist, Aletha Soule 

A whirlwind month of spring planting —slowed and backed up by days of torrential rain— continues to keep my schedule quite full. There’s little time for writing, painting and tending my own garden these days, but the pace will surely slow as temperatures rise. I take a break from planting in the hottest months; turning my attention toward the studio where I’ll be working on designs for late summer and autumn installation.

I am grateful for June’s long days and for arms full of peonies —bouquets of scarlet-flecked ivory, pink, peach and cerise— tumbling over the cranesbill and lady’s mantle; spilling out onto the freshly mown lawn . . .

Paeonia lactiflora 'Kansas' michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com June isn’t June without Fragrant, Dew-Kissed Peonies

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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The Scent of Peonies in Rain…

June 6th, 2012 Comments Off

The Last of the Golden Tree Peony Blossoms Add Glorious Warmth and Fragrance to the Secret Garden on a Rainy Day (Paeonia moutan x lutea ‘High Noon’, and at Her Feet: Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fen’s Ruby’, Heuchera ‘Stormy Seas’, Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’.

Peonies. As a gardener, I confess that they are my great weakness. When designing gardens, I tend to focus on the big picture: structure, plant form, foliage shapes, color relationships and textures. Flowers are wonderful of course, but in terms of garden design, I think of them as movie stars with scenes on a stage.

Yes, the movie stars come and go. And then, there’s the peony. A true bombshell; dramatic, feminine, voluptuous and heady with perfume…

But Paeonia lactiflora ‘Raspberry Sundae”? Oh, I Can Never Bear to Leave a Single Blossom Dragging in the Damp Earth. I Am Greedy for the Fragrance and Must Have Them Near!

Glorious, Golden Tree Peony, Glistening with Water Droplets (Paeonia moutan x lutea ‘High Noon’) To See More Photos and Read About The Lovely ‘High Noon’ Tree Peony, Click Here.

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. AllK photographs, articles and content on this site, (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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Return of the Black Dragon…

May 21st, 2012 § 2

Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng’  (Tree Peony, “Black Dragon Holds a Splendid Flower”)

The Black Dragon has returned to my garden, and this year he was generous, holding many splendid flowers. I have but a few tree peonies in my garden, and I hope to continue adding to the collection. The tree peonies bloom a couple of weeks earlier than the herbaceous peonies in my garden, and the Black Dragon is always the first to arrive.

Saturated with morning dew, the heavy, delicious fragrance of this peony fills the air with a rose-like scent. Peony blossoms are one of this gardener’s greatest pleasures. But the tree peony season is short; each flower to be savored for a few precious days. And with rain in tonight’s forecast, the petals will soon scatter to the ground. I wonder… Will the Black Dragon mind if I snip just a few of his splendid flowers, to place atop my desk?

Read more about Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng’ in my previous profile post, by clicking here.

This year, The Black Dragon was Generous, and Holds Many Splendid Flowers (P. suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng’)

Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng’  (Tree Peony, “Black Dragon Holds a Splendid Flower”)

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All photos, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions) are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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Black Dragon Holds a Splendid Flower …

June 8th, 2011 § 7

Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng': Black Dragon Holds a Splendid Flower

Wu Long Peng Sheng. Translated from Chinese, the name means, ‘Black Dragon Holds a Splendid Flower’. I haven’t seen the black dragon, but I keep looking. Maybe he’s hiding in the fern covered ledges; waiting to pounce if I pick this beautiful, magenta blossom? I wouldn’t blame him for being upset. His flower is, without a doubt, the most splendid in the early June garden. So if I’m found later this week —smoldering near the Japanese maple— you’ll know why. I couldn’t resist. The fragrance is incredible…

P. suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng’ blossoms late May through early June

Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng’ is a glorious tree peony from China. Hardy in USDA zones 4-8, it will grow 5-6 feet tall and slightly less wide over as many years. Tree peonies bloom about a week before most herbaceous peonies, but I have a bit of overlap in my garden with many of the early blooming, P. lactiflora cultivars. Tree peonies are among the longest-lived garden plants, and have been cultivated in China and Japan for centuries. Unlike their herbaceous relations (Paeonia lactiflora), tree peonies will tolerate a bit of light shade. In fact, they perform best and their delightfully fragrant blossoms last longer, with protection from hot afternoon sun. Be sure to prepare the soil well, with plenty of compost, and site all tree peonies in moist, but well-drained locations. Pruning of winter damaged wood should take place in very early spring, and pruning for shape should happen immediately after the blossoms have faded. P. suffruticosa ‘Wu Long Peng Sheng’ makes and excellent cut flower, and when I look closely —deep inside the petals— I can almost see the Black Dragon’s fire…

Fiery Heart of the Black Dragon’s Flower

Words & Photographs ⓒ Michaela Medina – The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, articles and content on this site, (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reposted, reproduced or reused in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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Peony Petals & The Heady Scent of June

June 7th, 2011 § 3

Sweet Dreams are Made of Silken Peony Petals

When the early morning air is moist and still and the garden is filled with pale light, I step outside to drink in the fragrance of springtime. Of course, there are many flowers at this time of year; iris, laurel, roses and baptisia. But there is one flower, above all others, that will always be my favorite. Unabashedly voluptuous, undeniably feminine and exquisitely fragrant; to me peonies define the month of June…

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Raspberry Sundae’

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Kansas’

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Mother’s Choice’

Top Photo: Melange Vase by California artist Aletha Soulé

Photographs ⓒ Michaela Medina – The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, articles and content on this site, (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reposted, reproduced or reused in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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Glistening Gold, Perfumed Peony Petals

June 2nd, 2011 Comments Off

‘High Noon’ Tree Peony (Paeonia moutan x lutea ‘High Noon’)

A cool morning after rain in the Secret Garden, and the fragrance of the first dew-kissed, peony blossoms fills the air. The scent of this favorite, golden flower —exotic and deep— is an eagerly anticipated May-time pleasure. Life gets so busy, and the seasons pass so quickly. Filled with an impossibly complex set of emotions, I pause and breathe deep; drinking in the moment, and the sweet perfume of springtime…

Paeonia moutan x lutea ‘High Noon’ an American hybrid (1952)

Paeonia moutan x lutea ‘High Noon’ is a deliciously fragrant, golden-petaled, tree peony, introduced by American hybridizer A.P. Saunders 1952. Originally from Asia —mainly China and Japan— tree peonies are long lived plants; often as much prized for their beautiful foliage as their large, fragrant blossoms.

Dessert Plate Sized , Golden Blossoms: Fragrant as Old Roses, Exotic as the Ancient East

Article and Photographs ⓒ Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, articles and content on this site, (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced or reposted without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

Garden Design & Installation: Michaela Medina. For design inquiries, see my professional services page at left.

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