A Busy Day

Today was a busy day in my garden. I planted two Comptesse de Bouchard clematis to grow up the arbor over the path at the side of the house. The arbor had fallen over in heavy wintry wind a few months ago, and I subsequently decided to replace the Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) that had done so well there (see my post for 1-31-14). In a way that isn’t so bad. Certainly the jasmine had a captivating fragrance, but it grew so fast that it was a constant chore to keep it in place. The lesson there is that Confederate jasmine needs a much larger arbor than three and a half feet wide. I had much success with Comptesse de Bouchard in my Chapel Hill garden and was delighted to find two well developed plants for sale.

My second major effort was planting a Keiko™ (Adored) Itoh peony (Paeonia (Intersectional hybrid) x ‘Pink Double Dandy’). It may have several names, but I am quite excited about this new series of peonies; a cross between an herbaceous peony and a tree peony. I can’t wait to see the swath of pink it will add to the garden in a few weeks. The Monrovia tag that accompanied it read:

“The large, semi-double to double six-inch flower is held on strong stems above dark green foliage. As the flower matures, the dark lavender pink petals slowly fade to soft pink, revealing yellow stamens in its center.”

I planted another Itoh peony, Bartzella, last fall and I am looking forward to its yellow blossoms. Both of them are covered with buds, primary and secondary. Itoh peonies are not cheap. It may be a few years before their price will drop, but I could not wait. For Christmas, my daughters gave me a gift card at one of my usual garden centers, so I was able to get Keiko for less than half price.

Today is also my youngest daughter’s birthday. She is a far away in California, and we will talk before the night is out. I think I will always attach that peony to Mary Shannon’s day. If the peony brings me joy anywhere near what my daughter has, it will be money well spent.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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