My Peonies and My Colchicums

– Posted in: Colchicums, Peonies, Plant info
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I bought my peonies at Reath’s. They definitely are not the cheapest, but I am hoping their quality will be worth the price. A long time ago I fell in love with a photo of the herbaceous peony ‘Bev’ (Fine Gardening May ’91) and Reath’s is one of the few places that carry it. And of course, once I got the catalog there were lots of other peonies to fall in love with. The other peony I am getting is called Rozella. Rozella is a hybrid of David Reath, who focused on breeding peonies with strong stems that won’t flop over.

There are hem[erocallis] nuts, hosta fanatics and iris devotees. I have decided to focus my horticultural collector’s instincts on the lowly colchicum. Colchicums are bulbous plants whose leaves emerge in spring and die back in summer. Then they bloom in pretty shades of purply-pink or white in the autumn, shades that go very well with the asters blooming at the same time. The catch is that spring foliage. It is far huger than the crocus-to-species-tulip-sized blossoms would lead you to believe, and as it becomes lax and flops over it can easily suffocate a less robust neighbor. So siting is important. I probably never would have started my collection if there hadn’t already been colchicums growing here when we moved in, but now I love walking around in autumn and discovering them all over again.

As for lilacs, I already sent the book back. You’ll have to get it out yourself

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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