Thursday, May 22, 2014

Volunteer Opening

Another mystery of my garden was revealed last night when a volunteer peony seedling (sapling? stalk? plant?) opened for the first time.  Until I first noticed this little gem in 2012, growing where it shouldn't be, I was unaware that some peonies would self-seed if they weren't deadheaded.  There were 6 or 8 ancient peonies near the orchard where I was raised, and I never noticed any distant seedlings, but perhaps that was because we mowed around each peony and never gave them a chance.  In contrast, my cypress-mulched and partially shaded front garden must be perfect for peony babies, because I've now got three small new peonies where none was planted.

My natural approach of live-and-let-live for self-seeding plants paid off perfectly this time.   This little girl is presumably a self-cross of 'Kansas' or 'Inspector Lavergne', or a cross of the two, since there are several of each in the bed.  Regardless of the parentage, I'm pleased at the almost bright-red coloration, the prominent yellow stamens, and the semi-double form, and I think I'll keep this one around under an appropriate study name such as 'Roush's Red'.  The blue foliage at the top of the picture, if you're wondering, is a blue-green sedum, 'Strawberries and Cream'. 

If you recognize the foliage of a volunteer plant, and it isn't a weed, don't pull it up.  You just never know the gifts you've been given until you, in turn, give them a chance to shine.



  1. Very nice! In the online photos, Kansas and Inspector Lavergne look very similar - and both of them have color similar to their offspring here. Besides the lightly double characteristic, what other differences do you notice between parents and child?

    1. The child is shorter at present, about half the height; I don't know if its because of it's age or whether it will stay that way. Inspector Lavergne is a bit more violet-red in my garden than either Kansas or this seedling. And Inspector Lavergne has a tendency to have a light edge on the petals.


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