Things are happening incredibly fast in the garden right now. The cool temperatures of the past few weeks followed by the 80's and 90's of the past 5 days seems to be condensing the spring blooming season, along with throwing off the timing I expect. The peonies, irises, and roses all look like they are going to hit peak bloom at the same time and I may quite possibly float away on the essence of colorful paradise I'm going to have by next week.
Rosa 'Jeri Jennings'
But, today seems to be a day for first things and I wanted to show two prize new plants that are blooming for the first time in my garden. The first of the Rogue Valley roses that I planted last fall has opened, if just barely, and I present, for your pleasure, 'Jeri Jennings', a beautiful Hybrid Musk rose bred by Paul Barden in 2007. She survived an unusually harsh Zone 5 winter and looks healthy, if small. I absolutely love the yellow-orange tones that are reminiscent to me of 'Alchymist'. I haven't yet sampled her fabled scent, but I'll put nose to ground soon and check that out as well.
Peony 'Prairie Moon'
Last year, I spent months eyeing a herbaceous peony at a local nursery, and finally surrendered my yearnings to what I initially thought was a high price and purchased and planted it. 'Prairie Moon'. a 1959 cross of P. ‘Laura Magnuson’ x P. ‘Archangel’ is not a new peony to commerce, but it is new to my garden. This thing was blooming its head off last year when I first saw it and the creamy single blooms lit up the area of the garden center, standing out from the other peonies there. Both because of the "prairie" in its name, the spectacular display, and the fact that it was introduced in 1959, the year of my birth, made it a no-brainer for my garden. And here it is, blooming now for about 5 days, the first of the peonies (other than species P. tenuifolia) to show up in my garden.
Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara'
A final welcome visitor, however, is the large single peony 'Scarlet O'Hara', who opened for the first time this morning, although it is her second year blooming in my garden. Gaze on that intricate yellow center for a moment, carpels and pink-tipped stigma, accented by the large scarlet petals, and I promise you, you can get lost in the bloom. The picture at right doesn't do justice to the fact that the blooms are as big as your hand, and they're on a tall, 3-foot peony, so the garden display of this peony when it gets going is unequaled.