Monday, February 9, 2015

The Peonies Say "Winter's Over!"

 The general consensus seems to think that Winter in Portland is OVER.

Based on what's happening outside - the plants seem to be saying Winter is over too!  Our ten-day forecast calls for mostly sunny days and temps in the 50's with even a day reaching 61 degrees.

To me, it feels like many of the flowers are right on target for their proper bloom time.

The Daphne odora, Edgeworthia chrysantha, Helleborus and Galanthus are in bloom. 

Helleborus x hybridus 'Black Diamond'  

Daphne odora 'Zuiko Nishiki' and Noid Hellebore
Galanthus (Snowdrops)
Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper Bush) in the back
The Hyacinthus, Daffodils, Crocus and other early bulbs are all popping up out of the ground. Several of the Crocus are blooming, but getting pummeled by the recent rains.    

Crocus 'Blue Pearl'
The most surprising to me are the Tree Peonies. There are several in the yard that are full on in bud and leafing out like crazy.

I generally know I don't have to worry about the Peonies - they are pretty tough, but I always worry anyway. 

Their delicate stems leafing out in February is a little more than my "Nervous Nelly" Peony stomach can handle, especially this early in the season. Just one snowstorm could snap all those delicate new growths.

My really early species, Paeonia mascula has bloomed the first week of April. But I haven't even seen this plant pop out of the ground yet. It may be more insulated in its mulched bed and still sound asleep. 

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Yin Hong Qiao Dui 银红巧对' (Silver Red Tree Peony) with buds
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Lu Xiang Qiu 綠香球'
Paeonia suffruticosa and Daphne odora 'Zuiko Nishiki'

I generally see Tree Peony flowers the end of April/beginning of May with the Herbaceous Peonies following suit. February is way too early to see buds this big!

I suppose our warm air temperatures are convincing the stems that it is warm enough to jump start growth.

Not to be left out on the early action, the new baby Tree Peonies planted last year are showing signs of life too. 

I'm sure all will go well weather-wise and I will just have to untwist my knickers this early Spring.

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Houki ' and Sedum 'Angelina'
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Chojuraku 长寿乐' - Small but alive!
Better early than dead... Everybody cross your fingers!


  1. I'm crossing my fingers for your peonies. This certainly does seem like very early for so much growth on them.

  2. I'm as confused as the plants, but when it comes to spring, I say "bring it on".

  3. It's great to see your garden springing to life and I have to say that the 'Black Diamond' helleborus is utterly stunning! I will keep my fingers crossed for your paeonia :-), Matt

  4. Chinese tree peonies often bloom earlier than Japanese and US tree peonies.

    1. Hi Bin H - You are correct! But here in Portland, in my garden the Chinese peonies normally bloom the end of April/Beginning of May. They are never this may weeks ahead.