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Peak Tree Peony Bloom 2017

The last several days have been glorious for the peak of the tree peonies here at Cricket Hill Garden. After three sweltering days last week, the weather cooled to a much more seasonable (and peony blossom friendly) range of 60-75° F. Though the Chinese and Japanese tree peonies are beginning to shed their petals, the season for hybrid tree peonies (yellows, dark red-blacks and silvery apricots) are just beginning as are the herbaceous peonies. Here's a look at some garden highlights from the last week: 'White Swallow Tail Flecked with Gold' Chinese rockii tree peony 'The Crane' 'Silver Waves on a Blue Ocean' Chinese rockii tree peony. This is a new one for us. 'Red Fairy' Our mature shrub of...

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Early and Mid Season Peony Blooms 2017

With the last few days of warm weather, many of the early and mid-season tree peonies have popped open here at Cricket Hill Garden, along with some of the early blooming herbaceous peonies. The flowers are a bit smaller and less vibrant this year than we typically see. We attribute this to stress induced by last year's drought as well as the uneven temperatures (alternate periods of warm and cold) this winter. Despite all of this, these plants are still putting on quite a show, filling the garden with their sweet perfume. 'Apple Gorgeous' 'Purple Tower Inlayed with Gold' 'Luoyang Red' 'Ling Flower Wet with Dew' 'Murad of Hershey Bar' 'Multi-Colored Butterfly' A self-sown seedling 'Peony Heaven Blue Lotus'  ...

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Garden and Nursery Update early May 2017

Here's what's been keep us busy recently at Cricket Hill Garden. Our sales area is stocked with a great selection of tree and herbaceous peonies this year.  A true testament to the hardiness of herbaceous peonies- rouges popping up from discarded roots in the compost pile. Who would suspect that such delicate beauty could also be so rugged? One of our tree peony production areas. 1st year tree peony grafts standing tall. Many 1st year grafted tree peonies will set flower buds. We pick these off early in the spring before they can develop so these young plants concentrate on vegetative growth. With a few thousand to disbud, we can be excused for missing one.  'Early Bird,' an early blooming hybrid...

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Cricket Hill Buds & Blooms Before the Peonies

This week has seen an explosion of buds and blooms in our garden! Pulmonaria (Pulmonaria officinalis) is a care-free, self-seeding perennial which blooms very early, providing nectar for our intrepid native bees.  'Adirondack Gold' apricot is loaded with blooms this year, fingers crossed that there won't be a late freeze.... Ditto for the 'Blushing Star' peach! 'Tlor-Tisran' apricot-plum hybrid is also blooming profusely this year. We're hoping that it will set fruit this year with the 'Gigante Di Budrio' plumcot as a pollinator. Turning to our woods, the wetter areas of the nursery have spicebush (Lindera benzoin) as the dominant understory shrub. These are now in bloom and the woods are glowing! The emergence of ramps and fiddle heads herald...

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Forcing Peonies in Winter for Chinese New Years

In Chinese, chun jie, the word for the traditional lunar new year, means “spring festival.” Though it is still very much winter in northern and central China, the new year heralds the slow awakening of spring. Traditionally the holiday is celebrated by families with mountains of dumplings, and large arsenals of fireworks. Another tradition is ‘forcing’ tree peonies to bloom in time for the New Year. In China, tree peonies represent prosperity and achievement as well as tokens of love. A blooming tree peony not only injects some much needed color into the winter days, but is also a wish for good fortune in the new year. Forcing tree peonies to bloom in the winter is done by potting up...

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