My Peonies and My Colchicums

– Posted in: Colchicums, Peonies, Plant info

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.

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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