Posts Tagged ‘peonies’

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Challenge Creates a Beautiful Reveal

April 11, 2016

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Rain was expected through Friday evening, and since I didn’t have the proper material I placed a patio furniture cover over my peony plant. There were over a dozen buds and three blossoms. Too much downpour can cause developing buds to wilt and die, which happened last year.

Peonies are my favorite flower. Waiting and watching the tiny buds mature into stunning saucer-size ruffles is like anticipating a beautiful flower delivery. But keeping my peony under cover too long was a concern. Plants need light and sun, and circulation.

Saturday, it rained all day and into the night. I stood on the front porch and listened to droplets settle on black plastic, concrete, and surrounding plant life. It was a welcome sound in California where the drought is grim. Everything was wet. Water ran from the downspouts. Cottontails, robins, blue jays and doves were tucked out of sight like my peony.

I decided I would uncover the plant on Sunday, even if it was raining. In the morning, I looked outside into the early faint light. The earth was soaked, but the sky had stopped crying.

Gently, I lifted the black plastic and squealed for Iron Man, who was nearby, to come quickly.

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Many of the buds had bloomed beneath the warm cozy cover. Layers of bright white ruffles looked up at us unharmed.

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It was one of those moments when you’re a young girl again and the doorbell rings. You answer and no one’s there, but below is a beautiful bouquet of flowers addressed to you. Just for you.

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Last Trip

May 22, 2015

Do you recall when I took a trip to Dragonfly Peony Farm last year? This month, I returned to purchase my last peony from owner Julia Moore who is closing the farm due to health issues.

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Julia opened the farm earlier, so the blooms were fewer than last year . . .DSC00461_edited-1

. . . and it rained the evening before.

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But Julia always has a photo by each variety section so customers can view the shape and color. I purchased Do Tell.

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A few weeks later mine bloomed. The color looks different than the peony photo posted at the farm.

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Still, it’s a beauty.

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I wish you the best, Julia. Thank you for the peonies, tips, and hugs.

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The Rise and Fall

April 30, 2014

PEONY BUD

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SOON OPENS

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WITH GRACEFUL BEAUTY

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AND REACHES FOR THE SUN

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THEN REVEALS ITS SOUL

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BEFORE THE END COMES.

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These photos are of the peony plant (Festiva Powder Puff) that I had purchased two years ago at Dragonfly Peony Farm. Each year, my plant produces more buds and larger flowers. They bloomed three weeks and were destroyed a week early by rainfall.

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Up the Mountians and Down the Hill

April 27, 2014

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Dragonfly Peony Farm, West Point, California, is a small operation surrounded by redwoods, and sits at the base of a steep hill. People come from all over Northern California, and no one seems to mind the walk down the nearly vertical hillside. If anyone slips and tumbles to the bottom, once they land they can simply pretend to be Dorothy or the Tin Man stretched out in a wave of captivating blossoms. There’s even a sweet spaniel, Lilly, who will lick your face.

The farm is operated by Julia Moore who once lived in a houseboat on the Sacramento River with a floating peony garden. After Julia moved to dry land in the Sierra forest, she removed dead trees. This allowed space for her peonies which are deer and gopher proof. Eventually, as Julia added more peonies she decided to open a peony farm.

Julia works hard all year, and then welcomes the public three to four weekends during peak season. She offers a large variety, all spectacular blossoms in corals, whites, pinks, reds, and yellows. Many of the flowers are seven inches and larger. In addition to the crowd of repeat and new customers who come to buy every year, Julia is accustomed to artists who take photographs to later paint the images on canvas. But few artists leave the farm without making a purchase.

Julia serves complimentary lemonade and sweets then sends her elated customers and their plants up the steep hill to their cars. This is when first-time customers learn about the free shuttle and loading service. Although there is no signage at the entrance, those who prefer to ride the shuttle down the hillside can call the farm once they arrive. The number is 209-293-1242.

Everyone receives detailed printouts on peony transplanting and care. Here are Julia’s top tips:

  • Six or more hours of sun (light afternoon shade in hot regions.)
  • Shallow planting: Place root system with top eye no more than 2” from surface. In warmer climates plant a little shallower for as much exposure to winter temperatures as possible; planted deeper, lots of leafy growth but no flowers.
  • Good drainage
  • Good air circulation
  • Prolonged winter chill

Dragonfly Peony Farm (www.dragonflypeonyfarm.com) will be open:

Friday, Sat. and Sun, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
May 16, 17, 18th
May 23, 24 & 25th
May 30, 31 & June 1st

Coming soon, photos of my peonies purchased at Dragonfly Peony Farm two years ago.

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