Thursday, May 9, 2013

Imposters in the Peony Bed

There are no peonies blooming yet in my peony bed, but there are peony-flowered tulips:

Tulip 'Abba' with tree peony
These are not peonies of course, but they do strike a similar chord in my soul. They are double-flowered early tulips, returning from last year. I think they may have even multiplied. This is a type that is supposed to perennialize well, so I had my fingers crossed, but of course you never know with tulips.

Tree peony, 'Abba' tulips, and lamb's ears
They are planted in front of my tree peonies, which will flower later. The tree peony in this picture is 'Luoyang Hong', and it has buds on it for the first time this year. I can't wait to see it bloom!

View of front tip of the peony bed
The bed as a whole is starting to fill in. Last year it was very bare. Some holes remain, but I've been working on planting it up with perennials. In the above picture you can see the lamb's ears and barely blooming iberis sempervirens (candytuft) in front of the tulips, some groundcover sedum to the left, and to the right a geranium wlassovianum, some iris cristata, and new shoots of lilies. A ruta graveolans (rue) which got broken off last year is vaguely starting to regrow.

Pinus mugo 'Slowmound'
There is also a dwarf mugo pine in this bed. Next to the pine are some penstemon, which will add blue summer flowers later.

Tulip 'Abba', Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush'
In front of the tulips I planted a variegated spurge, 'First Blush'. Reports suggest it is a temperamental fellow, but so far so good. I think the foliage looks nice with the blue-green of the tulip leaves - of course those will soon be an ugly mess.

One last picture, because I can't resist - of course I am holding my breath for the real deal, but these peony look-alikes make a nice substitute until then, no?

Tulip 'Abba' with tree peony, lily foliage, lamb's ears, mugo pine


  1. Rebecca,
    Nice composition: tree peony and tulips!
    I love the tree peony foliage and the tulips 'ABBA' are wonderful, lovely color and shape.

  2. Lovely tulips, I have already added it to my plant wish list! Thanks for the info about their second year flowering, I try to find tulips that come again, I think tulips that only flowers once is a bit waste of money as there are lots of tulips to choose that will come back year after year. My Fosteriana tulips have just finished flowering for the second year and was a mixed success, some flowered very well, some not, but it might not have been entirely the bulbs fault, we have had a very weird winter and spring. I will give them one more year to prove their worth :-)

  3. Oh, I love tulips, even though they don't grow well here. I hope yours do naturalize for you. How beautiful that would be! And isn't it satisfying to see a new area looking better after a little work. I hope all your new perennials do well for you this year.

  4. You are lucky to have those Tulips return. Perhaps if I didn't just chuck them out after flowering I would also find some of them do come back.


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