Tag Archives: flowering shrubs

white peony flowers

Peonies in July, But Not in My Yard

When I first moved to Florida back in 1979, one flowering shrub I missed was my favorite – the Peony. My grandmother had them in her Massachusetts garden around her old white farmhouse, and the huge blooms impressed me as a child. The fluffiness of the blooms were like none I’d seen, and the peony instantly became my favorite flower.

This page contains my photos of the peonies I planted and tended for the five years I lived in my New Hampshire house.  They bloomed in July, so I thought I’d treat myself to a trip back in time, when I could walk into my yard and see these beautiful blooms.  I wonder if the new homeowners are enjoying them today.


I live in Florida for 27 years, without growing any peonies in my landscape. I had everything else a southern gardener could grow. I had white and yellow jasmine along my fence. Camellias of all colors grew under the shade of the big live oaks in my 2.5 acre yard. I had a magnolia tree, orange tree, gardenias, hibiscus, crotons, and bougainvillea, lots of crepe myrtle, a stag horn fern, and more that I can’t remember now.  But peonies don’t grow in the deep south.

I really missed seeing peony flowers, and when I moved back to New England in 2005, I couldn’t wait to have some growing in my yard. Unfortunately, I ended up not having a yard of my own to plant them in until years later. But once I had my own home, I went out and bought a peony bush. I believe the Sarah Bernhardt (light pink flowering peony) was the first, and I can’t find a picture of that flower in my photos… but that one is my favorite.  (I’ll keep looking for a picture!)

I don’t recall the name of this white flowering Peony. I always kept the name of the plant in the soil beneath the shrub so I could recall the name. I no longer live there, and I’ve forgotten.

I know that the bright pink flower, with the yellow center is the Karl Rosenfeld. It’s not as fluffy as the other types I grew, but it was unique.

Peony flowers don’t last long.  I loved to photograph the buds too.  If I missed a day or two, and didn’t go outside (due to weather) I could miss the prime blooming time!

Most of my peonies – 3 plants – grew along an old wooden fence near the driveway.  The Karl Rosenfeld was planted out back.  The front gardens, near the house got too much sun for growing peonies, so I reserved that area for sun-loving shrubs.

Peonies are easy to grow, but some years they don’t get many flowers.  When they do bloom, ants can be found crawling all over the flowers.  Usually a cage or holder of some kind is needed to keep the stems upright once they flower.  It’s best to put the cage up and let the stems grow up through.

Viewing a sprouting peony in Spring, was just what I needed after a long cold winter!  Here they come….

peony in early spring
The Peony in Spring
Advertisements

Deadheading Old Hydrangea Blooms: What Time of Year is Best?

dead spring hydrangea flower
dried hydrangea on stem

Last summer was the first time I planted my own hydrangea shrubs in the yard. I planted six shrubs which were a combination of the macrophylla and paniculata variety and had flowers that were blue, white, pink and somewhat green by summer’s end.
Because hydrangeas last so long on the bush, I just let them continue to change and fade and eventually dry out on their stems. I left them alone over the winter and some of the dried heads fell off, but some stayed attached until this spring.
So when is the best time to remove the flower heads? Unlike some other perennial and annul plants, the hydrangea does not need dead-heading to flourish. The dried flowers look just fine and even add some interest against the winter snow.
But, I have decided to remove the dead flowers next Fall. My shrubs are all quite small and the snow on the flowers tended to pull the stems down and bury the stalks under all that snow. With just the stems left on the shrub, the snow should not be able to do as much damage.
So that is my plan for the end of the growing season this year.

Limelight: A Beautifully Named Hydrangea

budding limelight hydrangea flower
New Flower on the Limelight

I’ve never grown the Limelight hydrangea nor been around any of the shrubs. I purchased two of this type bush in Spring this year and planted them in front of my house.

Figuring that they would need this summer to grow good roots and become hardy, I didn’t expect flowers, so what a nice surprise to see them begin budding!
Sure enough, more and more little round petals began to form and now both bushes are filled with the elongated, lacey looking flowers. I expect that as the flowers age they will become more green. I am very happy with these healthy looking plants. I highly recommend the Limelight hydrangea as a perennial planting for your yard.

white limelight hydrangea flowers
Lacey white Limelight flowers

The Pinky Winky is Planted!

pinky winky shrub
Finally – the Pinky Winky is in the ground!

Finally — I got my newly acquired Pinky Winky hydrangea shrub into the ground! The other four hydrangeas were planted a couple of weeks ago and then we had a week of rain. I couldn’t decide where to put the last one – the Pinky Winky – and then I decided it should go out front so it can be seen by passersby. So I began to dig near the edge of the house and I was stopped by a white pipe in the ground. It must be part of the septic system I suppose.

So I filled in the hole and had to find another spot. I decided on the area next to the garage. The Pinky Winky tag tells me that it will be quite large and eventually reach 8 to 10 feet wide and high. It also needs some sun. I also noticed that little buds are forming – which is exciting! I thought I might have to wait until next year to see some blooms, which will be pink and white and elongated.

All hydrangeas – the Limelight, Blushing Bride, Blue, and Pee Gee are doing well.