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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Peony Poses

Lots of pictures today, but there are SO many pretty ones!

These were all taken at the Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor. As I said a couple of days ago, Cindy and I ended up needing to make this a fast visit, so I only know the variety of one of these peony flowers.


That said, I know a lot more than I did on Monday. When I stopped at Matthaei Botanical Garden (more on that tomorrow), I got to chat with a good friend, David Michener. He authored a book this spring called Peony. It's made the NY Times Best Summer Reads List this year! Had to get it, of course.

So, I can tell you that the form of the pink one above is Japanese or Anemone peony, and the white one below is a Single Peony.


Next we have a double peony. These are the kind I remember from my childhood lawn, and filling the cemetery on Memorial Day. They are all petals with no stamens and anthers showing. They range from white through pink to deep red in color.


Here's another single one in a rather astonishing color. This could almost make me like pink.


My best guess is that this one is a semi-double. This form is mostly petals but with a few stamens and anthers. I really liked the color of this. The yellow is not shadow, it was lemony looking, especially from a distance.


Now, here's the one variety I did find the name of. It's called 'Going Bananas.' You probably don't need to ask why!

Going Bananas peony

Another Japanese form- much like the first picture, but notice the center is lighter colored, not monochromatic pink. There are thousands of peony cultivars, and the names of many old ones are lost forever.


And a similar one but this one is single. You can see the carpals (which become seeds) sticking up in the middle).


I particularly liked the back side of this one. Now we have to talk about the kinds of peonies. The kind of plant is different from the shape of the flower. Most of the ones in our yards are herbaceous peonies. The stems are strong, but they are not woody. Then there are tree peonies. These, as you might imagine, have woody stems. The ancient Chinese loved peonies. OK, so this one is a tree peony. And one of the things I admire about Chinese art is their renditions of overlapping shapes like dragon or fish scales, duck feathers, and... peony petals! (There are also intersectional peonies which are hybrids of the other two kinds.)


This one might be a semi-double. I love the hints of bright color behind the white.


Here's another single white form. But this one looks more like wild roses than the one above which almost looks like a huge daisy.


Finally, there is one other form called the Bombe. I'm not sure I saw any of those, but it's possible this is one, or it could just be a single form. Bombes have a large center cluster of those modified stamens and anthers with just a collar of single petals. Fantastic color in this one anyway.


These are all heirloom peonies- all developed before 1950, and it's one of the largest collections in the world. Whether heirloom or modern, if you ever get a chance to visit a peony garden in full bloom... just do it!

In other news: I revised Chapter 5 and wrote Chapter 6 in The Bigg Bosss, and mowed the entire yard and all my trails. I usually like to spread this task over two or three days. However, the weather cooperated and rain is supposed to be coming, so I got my act together and did it.

See Long View of the Peony Garden
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Ann said...

I had no idea there were so many different kinds of peonies. I have the double ones and those are the only kind I've ever seen. These are really pretty.

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- I know! I've always liked this singles best, but I only have one double pink.

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