Monday, June 16, 2014

Peonies

The showiest flowers that mark the middle of June in our garden are the peonies.  I included a picture of our largest peony covered in buds with the very first blossom out 8 days ago, here.  You may not have noticed that picture, because the post was mainly about the June arrival of the dreaded mosquitoes!

Here is that peony about 2 days later, absolutely covered in huge blooms with their amazing yellow stamens, and being attacked by all the bees in the neighbourhood.

A close look shows the incredible twisted yellow stamens.  These are all 'single' peonies, with one set of petals around the outside.  Look up 'peony' images on Google, and you'll have a hard time finding a picture of a 'single'; they're all 'doubles' with their many showy petals bunched together which appears to be by far the most common variety of these popular flowers.  But those double blooms that we've bred for show are of very little use to the bees!

On the other hand, our collection of singles was being mobbed by bees - 'here come the troops' this picture says to me.  As I mentioned in the earlier post, these are un-named varieties, the result of a breeding program at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, but the more I understand about them the more I appreciate them.

We have several different ones, all of these 'singles', and the bees were after them all.  A well-known horticulturalist friend once told us: "Don't ever buy a double version of a flower, always buy singles and support the bees".

A close look at the stamens and pistils on this one shows quite remarkable structures and colours!

They're mostly white, but not all of them.  This one is a beautiful soft pink.

And the stamens and pistils in this one are even more remarkable!

This is another of our big peony clumps.  It was hard to find a bloom without a bee foraging in it on this one.

A final look at the biggest peony at its peak of flowering.  By the time the last buds come out, the petals are starting to fall off the first of the flowers.  But they certainly mark mid-June in our garden.

17 comments:

  1. What beautiful blossoms! I have never seen a peony like that and I am now in love with peonies!

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  2. Those single peonies are so attractive and they they hold themselves so much better than the double.

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  3. Nice macro shots of the flowers and the bees.

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  4. Wonderful blossoms. The white and yellow flower looks like an egg omelet!

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  5. They're some wonderful flowers and obviously the bees think so too.

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  6. the macro photos are absolutely fabulous :)

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  7. I love all the peony types. The Arb in Ann Arbor has a wonderful peony garden

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  8. Beautiful!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

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  9. I've never seen a peony like this before. They are gorgeous!

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  10. Magnificent floral macro shots ~ love the peonies beauty for OWT ~ thanks, ^_^

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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  11. I've never seen peonies like that. How fantastic!

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  12. Gorgeous Peonies... I've never seen any THAT gorgeous... The first photo looked like a bunch of fried eggs (sunny side up) sitting on a bush.... ha ha

    I don't have Peonies here simply because most of the ones I see get so heavy that they just flop over and bloom toward the ground... NOT very pretty... I LOVE yours.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  13. Decadent Peonies! Lovely photos.

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  14. Had to come over and see your peonies! Those are absolutely gorgeous! Incredible variety- and good to know about the 'singles' and the bees. Lovely!

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