Late Season Tree Peonies, Herbaceous and Intersectionals Begin 2016

We’ve been zipping around the nursery this week like the honey bees we are so happy to see. Our window of time for documenting the bloom is always short; by the ephemeral nature of the flowers, taking care garden guests and customers, as well as the omnipresent (barely) controlled chaos of running a small business. Fortunately the weather has cooperated, cooling from the hot and muggy mess of last week. We anticipate a fantastic finale to the 2016 peony season with good weather for viewing the herbaceous and intersectional peonies. Here’s a look at what’s been blooming in the nursery this past week. Enjoy!

The late season tree peonies… A few cultivars of Chinese rockiis held on into late last week. The majority of tree peonies now blooming are the hybrids. The first generation of these hybrids were crosses between cultivated Chinese and Japanese tree peonies with their wild ancestor, Paeonia lutea. They come in a range of mesmerizing colors, from bright yellow, to glowing apricot and peach, and soft silver. While the flowers are not as large as the traditional Chinese and Japanese varieties, these hybrids have a style all their own.

‘Happy Days’ (Saunders, 1948)

‘Golden Experience’ (Reath, 2000)

‘Black Panther’ (Saunders, 1948)

‘Vesuvian’ (Saunders, 1948)

‘Kronos’  (Daphnis, 1978)

‘Silver Sails’

‘Alice Harding’ A beautiful flower, but it hangs badly with weak stems. Not a plant we are currently propagating.

One might ask: a peony so ugly we had to cover the blooms with paper bags?….no, no…For the last few years, we have been doing some intentional hybrid crosses of our own. Our goal is to create larger hybrid tree peonies which hold their flowers more upright. We hope to achieve this by using some of our outstanding varieties of Chinese rockii tree peonies as the pollen parent.

Intersectional hybrids (crosses between tree and herbaceous peonies) also started to bloom this week.

‘Court Jester’

‘Dragon Claw’

And now for the early to mid- season herbaceous peonies

‘Scarlet O’Hara’ 


Seedlings of P. lactiflora herbaceous peony. We collect the seeds from these plants and grow out the plants to use as our rootstock for grafting tree peonies. 

Just to prove that we grow more than peonies at Cricket Hill Garden, here’s a look at whats happening in orchard.

Mulberries are already forming. These will be ripe later this month.

Looks like there was good pollination on our pawpaws this year. 

European elderberries (S. nigra) are in bloom.

Two natives to East Asia; the che and the ladybug reunited on a hillside in Thomaston, CT. 

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