Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Neighbor's Peony plus Creeping Zinnia, Cute Gaillardia and Bee-Friendly Salvia



Fragrant peony
My neighbor's fragrant peony
I don't have a peony, but my kind neighbor does.

She's a gardener too, although her tastes run more toward roses, lilacs and Japanese maples.

She and her husband are originally from China and she told me that peonies are seen as very special there. (This website says the peony is China's national flower!)

Peonies apparently are long-lived, but they can take a few years to settle in. I think this is the first year she has really gotten a nice amount of flowers from her peony.

Not only are the flowers beautiful, but they also have a lovely fragrance that reminds me of roses.

Meanwhile, despite unseasonably hot weather (lots of days in the high 80s) and no rain this month, there are still plenty of flowers and buds in the Garden of Aaron, including:

Creeping dianthus
Creeping dianthus


Coneflower bud
Coneflower bud



Creeping zinnia...only it's an imposter, because it's not really a zinnia at all, but a completely different species: Sanvitalia procumbens

Gaillardia x grandiflora "Sunset Cutie"
Gaillardia x grandiflora "Sunset Cutie" (although truth be told, it doesn't look quite like the official Sunset Cutie photos) 
Salvia nemorosa "May Night" and bumblebee
Salvia nemorosa "May Night" and bumblebee 

Salvia guaranitica, Anise-Scented Sage, "Black and Blue" buds
Salvia guaranitica, Anise-Scented Sage, "Black and Blue" buds


Natchez Mock Orange and ant
The Natchez Mock Orange is blooming its heart out. I'm happy to see that it attracts some insects - mainly ants and small bees. Despite the fact that some sources describe Natchez as being a scentless Mock Orange, I can detect a light scent -- which is exciting because often I have the opposite experience of not being able to smell flowers that are supposed to be fragrant! 

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting the pictures of my peonies. As you said, peonies mean so much to Chinese. City Luoyang is called the capital of peonies in China. Around this time of the year, people from all over China go to Luoyang for peony festival. My mother loves peonies very much. I'll definitely show her your pictures.

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    1. My pleasure, neighbor! :)

      You've made Luoyang sound like a magical place to visit. I hope to see all those peonies someday...

      For readers who are not familiar with Luoyang, here's some information on the Peony Festival: http://www.eaff.eu/en/festivals/152-32th-china-luoyang-peony-culture-festival-2014

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  2. Peonies are so heartbreaking - they are so stunning, but so fleeting, and if it rains or gets windy they look awful. I use them as cut flowers now because they look better in a vase than on the plant! Salvia Black and Blue is on my wish list for my new garden. Does it overwinter for you? I think it's kind of borderline but I hear it will self-seed.

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    1. I agree that Black and Blue Salvia is only borderline hardy (rated to zone 7). I'm guessing that means it will overwinter in mild winters but be killed by any winters like the one we had last year.

      This is my first year growing it, so I'll definitely report back to let you know if it overwinters or self sows.

      I'm hoping it attracts hummingbirds!

      Hm, that's too bad about peony flowers being short-lived. But I guess some of the prettiest flowers (e.g., cherry blossoms) are appreciated in part for the ephemeral beauty?

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  3. Wonderful to learn about the peonies from your neighbor...so much blooming Aaron.

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    1. Thanks Donna! It's a beautiful time :)

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  4. I love how early the salvia nemorosa's bloom. Yours look great! My neighbors allow me to garden in their yard, which I love because they have a lot more moisture than I do. I just suggested they add hydrangea's, which I love. No ulterior motive there at all! Wink!

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    1. Thanks! I wish I knew how to treat the Salvia nemorosas after they've finished blooming. I guess just cut them all the way back to basal foliage?

      You do have kind neighbors. And it's cool that the different soil conditions on their property allow you to expand your plant palate :)

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