Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mid-season Peonies at Olbrich

I am very behind in my postings! Let's start getting back on track with some memories of mid-season peonies at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Olbrich has a fantastic peony collection, with lots of unique selections from Klehm's Song Sparrow. These photos were all taken in early June.

Beautiful Senorita - this striking Japanese type has strong pink petals and fabulous spiky centers.

Herbaceous peony 'Beautiful Senorita'

Fuchsia Jazz - the shape of this herbaceous cultivar is almost tree-peony like. As you can see, eye-popping color!

Herbaceous peony 'Fuchsia Jazz'

Bowl of Cream - one of those super-packed doubles I am so fond of. A very good white with strong fragrance. Seemed to have pretty strong stems for such an enormous flower.

Herbaceous peony 'Bowl of Cream'

Fluffy - I like Fluffy although the name is perplexing. It's not particularly "fluffy" at all - perhaps they had in mind the gold poof at the center. The petal edges are nicely fringed.

Herbaceous peony 'Fluffy'

Coral Supreme - this is one of those WOW peonies. I love coral peonies in general. It would be hard to choose a favorite between this one and 'Coral Sunset'. The dark coral pink slowly fades to apricot-cream. The gradations of color, floriferousness, and overall plant habit make a breathtaking show in the garden. I took about 18 pictures of this one... here are a couple for you!

Herbaceous peony 'Coral Supreme'
Herbaceous peony 'Coral Supreme'

Sweet Shelly - another nice Japanese type, this one with very large soft yellow centers, and short, flat pink petals.

Herbaceous peony 'Sweet Shelly'

Karl G. Klehm - the flowers on this rose-shaped creamy white peony are simply enormous and heavily double. I love the antique look of the blooms, but as you can see the flowers are so heavy they droop seriously - the plant really can't hold itself up at all. The plant in the picture is well-supported, but still the stems fall and weep.

Herbaceous peony 'Karl G. Klehm'

Flame - the picture here does not do this peony justice - the color is an indescribable coral-red, which really does seem to burn with a mysterious inner fire. It was also growing, for some reason, in what appeared to be nearly complete shade. The color carries across the garden amazingly well, and from a distance it appears like a stand of enormous but delicate tulips.

Herbaceous peony 'Flame'

Pink Luau - I remember not liking this peony when I saw it... but the picture sure does look attractive. Certainly a unique peony, perhaps more effective as a close-up than for garden effect.

Hope you've enjoyed my memories of June... Visiting Olbrich is always so torturous - if only I had endless space to add more peonies to my garden!


  1. I so so so wish I could grow peonies - your pictures make me salivate. I planted an Itoh peony last summer and have my fingers crossed that it'll come back this year as I've heard testimonials to this effect from other southern California gardeners. I also planted a tree peony shortly after we moved in 3 years ago but, so far, no blooms (but it is still alive!).

    1. Thanks! I've heard that some tree peonies will bloom in California, so definitely worth experimenting. Apparently some varieties are more successful than others. If not, you'll just have to be content with all the roses, gardenia, camellia, etc. that grow so well where you are... There must be a million mouth-watering plants that grow in CA but not up here - pretty much all we get to crow about is peonies! It's not much but it gives me something to dream about in winter.

  2. I adore peonies. You have photographed some beauties here. I have some tree peonies 'Rockii' which are now 5 years old from seed. I don't know how to contain myself until they flower. I can't think of anything in the garden as opulent and gorgeous as a peony.

  3. Beautiful! What a delight to see plants that don't really grow well here (I miss herbaceous ones in particular)... Simply stunning.

  4. Beautiful series of photos. Happy New Year and greetings from Montreal, Canada.

  5. Nice post. Peonies have always been one of my favorites and you highlight a nice selection here. Glad to have found your blog. Happy New Year!

  6. I didn't realize there were that many kinds of peonies. I just have 3 that were already planted by my mother-in-law when she was alive and lived here. Those sure are some pretty blooms! I enjoyed looking back at your fall photos, too.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I laughed when I read about your short plants poking up a bit through the snow. That sounds cute to me!

  7. Thanks for the reminiscence of June – it seems such a long time ago and yet June will soon be here again, with peonies. I have 3 peonies in my garden and one in my neighbour’s, my garden is too small so I gave lots of plants to my previous neighbour. There are new people living there now but I just have to look over the fence to enjoy my plants :-) I have the lovely Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, which is like Karl G. Klehm which you photographed, mine has to be staked individually, each flower stem all the way up to the flower head or all the stems will be horizontal. I had more than 40 flowers on my bush last summer so that’s a lot of staking – but well worth it.

  8. Olbrich in Madison is a great place to visit. Thanks for posting the peony flowers. Nice to "re-visit" that garden. JC

  9. What a wonderful post - Peonies are my favourite flower and over all too quickly. It's nice to have a reminder these special plants.
    I've recently moved the shed in my garden and my peony border is possibly in too much shade now - I will wait and see what happens before I go to the bother to move them.

  10. Wonderful memories, Rebecca! I love all peonies, your double white and Japanese are perfect.
    Have a nice weekend!

  11. Hi Rebecca, oh my goodness, these peonies are mind bogglingly beautiful! I have always loved peonies, but had no idea that there are so many different varieties out there. You are lucky that you got to visit the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and see them all in person and up close. Unfortunately, in my climate I only can grow tree peonies, for the others I don't have enough winter chill. But I love to look at them at least virtually, so thanks for sharing these lovely photos on your blog! Happy New Year to you!

  12. Rebecca, your memories of June were right up my street. Fabulous Peonies.


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