Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peonies and a Potpourri Post

I dream about peonies in bloom all winter long. It's my favorite flower and their spring time bloom ushers in the summer season for me. I've got 4 nice sized plants that the previous owner of the house planted. I don't know what variety they are but one has double blooms and flops over much more than the others without staking.

The week or so in which the peonies are in bloom is a big deal for me. I anxiously await their arrival, take pictures, and cut a bunch to decorate my home and give away to friends. The show they put on is fabulous and far too short.

I've tried all methods of staking with some methods working better than others. The peony hoops are basically useless for the plants I have since they are far too small and the plants far too large. The best method has been staking using individual bamboo sticks. The sticks I buy are dyed green and barely noticeable, but since I have so many stalks it takes a lot of sticks and lot of time to set up.

This spring I've been really busy and never got a chance to stake up the plants. I was going to do it this week after work, but then the rain hit and I came home to this tonight after work.

What you see above is my front island bed. You can click to enlarge the photo but the peony is over towards the right side. With all the rain we've been having the entire plant is face first into the ground. The blooms are just about bursting and haven't fully opened, but will in the next few days.

Here's another view of the bed. There's two peonies in this bed (and two in another bed near the veggie garden). There's one near the tree and the other is over on the right.

Here's a closer look.... sigh....

I'd go out and stake them but it's pouring and was only able to take this photo during a brief break in the rain. I wait all year for the show and it looks like if it doesn't stop raining the chipmunks will have a better show than I.

After being so disheartened by the flopped over peonies I walked into my kitchen and saw this out the window!

I was so excited since it's the first one of the season that I've seen at our feeder. I put the feeder out every year and its right outside my kitchen window along with two other feeders that are there on the deck. I'm horrible at getting pictures of any birds so the shear fact that I even got this shot is amazing. It's a bit blurry and it's taken through a window while it's raining, but I'm thrilled I even got a few pictures at all.

Here's a wider shot of my kitchen windows and where the feeders are.

I love standing at this counter because the birds come up to feeder while I'm there preparing a meal or having a sip of coffee. To the left of the photo you can see my orchid in full bloom. I bought it last year at the Boston Flower show and didn't think it would bloom again but it did! I've surrounded this window with twinkle lights. I put them up last Christmas and loved the way they looked so I never took them down. Such simple things make me happy.

Finally for this potpourri post is a picture of Ellie with her summer haircut.

She got a bit more clipped than I would have liked, but her little peanut head is adorable. Her ears look even more like Gizmo from the Gremlins movie now that she has less fur. Actually I think she's a bit annoyed that she got a haircut... just look at the expression she's making.

See the resemblance....


AnnF said...

I tend to see floppy peonies as invitations to cut the biggest blooms for a bouquet for inside. :)

Sunweeds Secret Garden said...

Sorry about your peonies, love your kitchen lights. What do you feed your honey eaters with? we have quite a few visit the garden, they love my huge pineapple sage. But I have never tried feeding them

Northern Shade said...

My favourite peonies are the doubles loaded with petals, but of course they can hardly hold their heads up. Do the double rings not work for you, the ones with a ring down low, one up high, and 3 sturdy legs? Mine work fairly well, except for a few of the longest stems that are determined to bend over. I love the exuberance of peony blossoms, and such a sweet scent.

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

Stacy, I feed the hummingbirds a mixture of 1/4 cup white grandulated sugar and 1 cup water. I boil the water first and then I add the sugar so it dissolves. I let the mixture cool completely and then I put it in the feeders. The hummingbirds love it and it's cheaper than buying the pre-made mix. You have to change the food out at least once a week sometimes twice a week if it's hot outside. The birds are really picky and won't touch the sugar syrup if it's a week old. Usually they don't go through a whole cup in one week but I change it out anyone.

Northern Shade, I tried the supports you mentioned but my peonies are too tall for them and still flop over. I do have one plant that is much shorter than the others so for that one I can use the hoops.

Thanks for your comments! -Jackie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Peonies are one of my favorites too. We always seem to have a storm while they are in full bloom. I found some really large peony cages a few years ago that hold mine up beautifully. Before that I cut up green garden fencing and made circles.

Saw a hummer in my yard a few days ago so I put out the feeder. He didn't stay, just passing thru.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

It seems like peony blooming and rain almost always coincide! This year I tried the grid that they grow through and so far so good, although it hasn't rained on them yet.
Great shot on the hummingbird!
Ellie Mae looks very cute.

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

The mulch is heavy, black and surely has created lovely condition for roots to keep reaching and the plants to keep growing. Lovely sight and very neat!

~ bangchik

The Garden Ms. S said...

I love your front beds.

(And Ellie May looks adorable in her new haircut!)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

It seems that as soon as the Peonies start to bloom, here comes the rain and thunderstorms. Too many times I've been late getting the Peony staked. I recently planted 3 new Peonies - all reputed to not need staking. We'll see.
Ellie is such a cutie, and yes, I think she does look like Gizmo.

tina said...

I dream of a kitchen like that with those big windows to watch just a sight as you saw. In fact, I'd be happy if my whole house was that way.

On the peonies, I use concrete reinforcing wire with a mess of the same white inside. It keeps them off the ground but I have to make sure the height is the same as the peony blooms. I leave them in place all year for the funtionality and ease of maintenance. Yes, I know, some don't like the look but for me it is okay. A reminder of the peonies to come. I did post on it a while ago.

RainGardener said...

I'm so sorry your Peonies fell. Dang I hate when that happens. Love your hummingbird pictures though. You're so lucky to have the feeders right out your window. I never thought about having Bob hang one there. Ok great idea. Your gardens are beautiful!

Heather said...

So sorry about your Peonies!! It seems a sorry fate when the rain comes down and destroys their original perkiness! Still love the flowers, and your beds are gorgeous.
So glad the day ended on a happy note!

CiNdEe said...

My peonies flopped even though I put the rings around them. They were still pretty and I enjoyed them just not as well as I wanted. Next year I am going to try another way to keep them up!
Now as for your sweet Miss Ellie...(-: She does not look happy to have lost her locks(-: Tell her she looks precious and she will get over it(-: Jack has no hair so he doesn't have to deal with a haircut but he does hate baths. He really hates me after that. But thats what keeps him looking so handsome(-: LOL

Outside In said...

Love your kitchen! and Ellie is too cute. My neighbor has beautiful peonies that never flops over to much just slightly when in full bloom and she said she divides them every 2 years.

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

Tina, Thanks for the tip on the staking. I'll have to check out the post in your archives.

Tootsie said...

what a great view you have from your windows!!! your garden is gorgeous...and that humming bird is so cute!!!

Tatyana said...

Elly looks spiffy, your kitchen looks great (I love those lights!), peonies are lovely even with their heads down and the idea to put a bird feeder right in front of the kitchen window is genious!

Sue said...

I finally cut some to bring inside this year. The season was very short, and mine were floppier than usual, too.

Your kitchen is beautiful! Congrats on the hummingbirds!

I don't remember how old my son was when he talked me into taking him to Gremlins. He wanted to leave early on, and I don't remember if I told him we were staying for the whole movie, or to give it more of a chance. He probably remembers, though.

I think Ellie is cuter, even if she doesn't smile like that.