And the winner of the first peonies bloom for 2017 is Paeonia Officinalis subsp ‘huthii’! We were beginning to wonder if the peonies would ever show amidst the colder temperatures we were having. Now with warmer temps the next few days, who knows what will happen with the blooms. We should be announcing Peony Field Days early next week. Rumor has it the first part of June but we are not sure if the second dates will be a week earlier or later. Some of you may be wondering what is this peony called Paeonia Officinalis subsp ‘huthii’? I’ll try to keep this brief to give you a high level answer. So a few thousand years ago, peonies were found in various regions of the world. Of those recognized today, (13) were ‘species’ peonies like ‘Paeonia Officinallis‘ and (27) were ‘subspecies’ like ‘huthii‘. In other words, out of those original (40) peonies, today we have over 7,000 named peony varieties that have been registered by the American Peony Society ‘APS’. Is that cool or what! We use ‘huthii’ extensively in our hybridizing efforts both from a purple bloom standpoint and also for its blue green foliage, but most of all it is normally our first or second peony to bloom since we imported it from France. Welcome to the Swenson Gardens peony blooms for 2017. Oh and yes this was shot with our new Sony A99II and Zeiss 2.8/24070 ZA SSM II lens. And no this shot has not had post processing. I can’t wait for more peony blooms!
Speaking of more peony blooms and Redd shots too, we have a tie for second place. Here Redd is guarding ‘Little Red Gem’ knowing that at least in part, three of the letters in his name match the middle word of this variety. Who knows why he decided to sit and rest by this variety? In any event what a lovely shot! We just love this variety for its fern leaf foliage and easy growing characteristics versus the ‘tenuifolia’s’ or fern leaf peonies. We use to grow fern leaf’s but after seeing the vigor and foliage of these new hybrids, the fern leaf’s are gone. For you fern leaf peony lovers, you really need to try ‘Little Red Gem’! I know Redd likes it so you should too.
Ok so Redd got bored and wanted you to see the other peony blooms that tied for second place. ‘Lil’ Sweetie’ is its name and it also sports the fern leaf foliage. Blooms are held higher above the foliage and its size is smaller than ‘Little Red Gem’. Many of our customers plant these in rock gardens or where space is a concern. I think Redd likes this one too as he can see over it when he’s taking a break. What a fun evening walking through the peony fields tonight! I can only imagine what the fields will look like when more of the peonies start blooming!