Tag Archives: Peony

There’s a Fungus Among Us, And Catalpa Kaput!

Tulip Tree leaf

Deformed Tulip Tree Leaf--fungus?

Our wet warm weather is taking a bit of a toll.

The larger of the two Catalpa’s is giving up the ghost. I’ll give it a little time—after all, if I decide to remove and replant, it will be next spring before I can hope to sprout a Catalpa again, anyway. Its sister tree in the nearby garden is sick, but not dead yet—so there’s a hope I can merely transplant and not go back to square one.

Meanwhile, stalking the garden stalks—fungus!

The pink Crabapple trees, which are the ones most vulnerable to leaf fungus, are showing signs of suffering. It will make the trees less attractive for a time, but these trees have been around for several years and have been attacked before—they can take some punishment from this problem but still be OK.

The Tulip Tree, however, worries me. I’m not 100 percent sure what’s wrong with it—many of its leaves appear to have a warty like texture. Clearly, the tree is under attack from something, but I don’t know if it’s a soil fungus or a leaf fungus, or a fungus at all, but I suspect there’s a fungus among us.

It’s a fairly young tree, but also fairly large, so I hope it will snap out of it when drier weather sets in.

We’ll see!

Seems to be a poor year for peonies in my yard. A large white bush, the “father” peony because it was the one that we here when we moved in, didn’t come back this spring. Only two of the “traditional” peonies, both pink, will bloom. One is just now budding, the other, as you can see, is already flowering.

Well, an off year is OK, but I need to find some white peonies.

And let me know if you know what’s going on with my poor Tulip Tree!

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Some Pretty MMU Flowers


Pretty Iris in MMU grotto, view 1.

I have only a few Irises in bloom, so I have some Iris envy these days when I’m on campus at MMU. Lots of pretty ones in the Grotto, as you can see.

And, apparently, the peonies are trying to make a break for it through the construction fence!

Too bad we don’t have more summer courses and students on campus. They miss our nice summer flowers.

Rain on Iris

Took photos late afternoon June 2, 2011--a rainy day. Drops in Irises.

Pink Peony

Pretty pink Peony at MMU--I have a darker pink one at home that bloomed the next day.

Peony escape?

Peony attempts to squeeze through MMU construction fencing.

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What Surprises Me As Iris Blooms


Iris, in bloom. It would be a pretty girl's name too.

As I biked home from MMU this afternoon, I passed a hedge at the corner of F and Old Marion Road that is up a short embankment from the street. Near the hedge, there is a line of Irises, and today they were blooming.

Well, oaks and sumacs are finally coming out of winter slumber and the crocuses are all just memory. Crab apples have faded as quickly as they bloomed, and the full size lilacs are in their prime. Red buds are still pretty, but the flowers are beginning to look a little tired as their leaves appear more prominently.

And, I have Iris envy, and annual condition, since I plant many each year and have few blooming plants to show for the effort. But today, the same day I saw my first irises on my commute, similar white ones in my front garden had begun to bloom.

And so have my Chinese peonies, though the more mundane ones are not nearly ready yet.


Peony, blooming early. One of the frilly Chinese kind that blooms several weeks before others.

The irises are a pleasant surprise, a bit of an award for having a somewhat gloomy personality.

At least, if you’re a pessimist, most things in life turn out better than you expected. I don’t know how optimists cope.

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Mid-April, Buds Show How The World Will Change


Fern ready to unfurl, looks like it could be an alien about to bite

Crocus have been in bloom and many are already faded. Daffodils are coming into their own, and all kinds of flowers/plants are starting to show themselves.

It’s mid-April, an in between time in the garden. The early phase, the first signs of life, are ending, and some serious plant sex is ready to kick into gear.

Here I present a few images shot during a quick tour of my backyard in the morning of April 14. Your taxes are due tomorrow, and by this time next week, green and shade will start to dominate my temporarily sunny yard.

In my quick loop this morning, I was struck by how odd the ferns look, which is why “Fernie” gets the main spot. Before their fronds unfurl fully, they look a bit like the evil plant in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

New lilac


Lilacs will be a mixed bag, which they always are. A fairly young one that we planted 2 years ago and that bloomed last year looks like it’s going to bloom its heart out. As you can see, at least one other bush will be in a reproductive frenzy, too. But looking down at the bud nearer the ground—well, this pretty white lilac doesn’t seem to have any flower buds yet. Next spring, I hope. A few other shy bushes seem like they’ll continue their shy ways. Oh well, I’m going to have plenty of lilacs to see and smell (and chances are, I’ll need them).

Some of the traditional peonies are showing well, but not budded yet. The frilly early ones have formed buds already and should bloom soon.

Lily of the valley and hostas, which always seem like the last flowers to awaken, are just starting to poke their conical first folded leaves above the ground.

Crab apple trees have their tiny early leaves, which means they are getting set to bloom very soon. Redbuds are swollen with pink buds that will be gorgeous tiny flowers in a matter of days.


Pear tree. May be a bit stinky ....

Sadly, the pear tree that bloomed just a little last year looks ready to put on a real show—with pears, that’s sometimes a stinky show, too. I hope the scent of lilac proves more robust than the pear stench.

And a few other early flowers, plants that are part of the end of “wave 1” of spring.

Grass will need mowing soon. New grass is starting to sprout. The larger trees are still fitfully snoozing, but showing signs too, with maples long since flowered and buds swelling on oak and ash.

The in between time is poised to give way to dramatic new flowers shortly! Hooray, spring!


Side view of Fern. Scary looking little monster, but will be pretty plant.


Traditional color lilac near house.

Moscow lilac

Pretty little Moscow lilac, will bloom white. But not this year.


Both redbuds, older one and young pup, are going to be very showy this spring.


Another view of pear buds.

Shady groundcover.

Shady plant in bloom.

Early flower.

Early flower in garden by deck.


Final photo, daffodil in bloom.

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First Blooms The Sequel

Irises and peonies.

White irises in front, blooming red "Japanese" peonies in back. Peonies have pretty yellows center, are smaller than "regular" ones.

It’s an extraordinarily busy spring. Katy, Ben and Matt all have graduations, with a BA, a high school diploma and a PhD—all on three sequential weekends.

Getting people to all 3 events is further complicated with this being the spring of new moves and new jobs—just got back from Omaha late last night moving Nina into an apartment. She has a social services night job, which seems to be going well, but I hope she does not get too worn out.

April 30--Amanda, Lizzie and Audrey.

Last day of April 2010. "Mess" is due to impending move and packing. Amanda, Lizzie and Audrey during our supper stop on the way to Omaha to move Nina.

It was fun to see Lizzie on the way there, and to briefly say hi to Matt and Amanda on the way back.

Yikes. End of spring semester is always busy anyway, the extra travel time this year makes this the time that tries men’s tires, sleep patterns and health. Well, stress is not always negative, and this spring seems full of positive stress.

Anyway, of course, this is all about the garden, where “new” has been a theme this spring.

As you can see, Japanese Peonies (I think they are Japanese, I keep calling them either Chinese or Japanese—but of course, I’m relying on the name the family gave them in the farm garden, and who knows?) are in bloom. They formed buds earlier, bloomed with smaller flowers and will probably be done before the “traditional” peonies are in bloom.

That’s nice. It’s the mirror image of lilacs, where the larger, “traditional” bushes bloom before the exotic dwarf varieties, but like lilacs, one reason to have more than one type of peony is to have a longer peony season.

Bearded Iris.

Yellow and green leaf is "bearded" iris that will grow no beard (flower). Not that it, the older iris, is next door to a new white iris that is blooming. Backyard garden iris witch casts powerful spells ...

The other big news from the garden is that the plain white irises are in bloom. Note photo—the variegated leaf is a “bearded” iris that should bloom blue. I split up a non-blooming clump in the back garden and placed roots in various places.

I feel a little less inadequate about the whole iris controversy. Who knows why almost all of my iris refuse to bloom? When the variegated bearded one is right next—right adjacent—to new white irises in the new garden in the front yard, they still won’t bloom.

The iris’s witches spell apparently works in new gardens, but, happily, appears not be contagious.

A new evergreen bush that looks like a rhododendron relative is also in bloom for the first time. Naturally, I have no record of what it is. But oh well, the flowers are the point.

New Moscow lilac whose photo was in an earlier blog post has tripled in size. If it keeps going, it may reach that magic size, 4 to 6 feet, when a lilac will bloom next spring.

We’ll see. Time for me to go—tons of other stuff to do in this busy, but happy, spring.

New bush in bloom

New bush in back garden blooming this spring. Don't remember what it is, it looks a bit like a type of rhododendron.

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Invasion of Peonies from Mars and Gnomes!


Gnome in a young lilac. Family members are being quiet about how it got there.

It’s Easter Eve, Holy Saturday, one of the holiest days of the year.

Not everyone in the family is feeling good in this season of hope. For those who struggle with personal storms and darkness even as the weather turns nice and flowers bloom, our thoughts and prayers are with you. May you enjoy many a more sunny spring.

Daffodil. In back garden by deck, next to steps going up to deck.

Anyway, in my immediate family, Holy Saturday has brought some strange garden apparitions.

Gnomes! Someone, probably someone I am either genetically closely related to (an offspring or offsprings of mine) or someone I am married to (who I can freely write about because she doesn’t read my blog) or some combination has been in cahoots.

Gnomes have started to sprout among the daffodils, tulips and pretty, unnamed other flowers blooming in my gardens.

It is a little creepy to suddenly find gnomes in your garden on a Saturday morning when you are pretty sure they were not there on a Friday. My wife claims that a combination of children were involved, and she may be right, or she may be covering her own tracks. Hard to say.

New peonies

"Chinese" peonies transplanted in fall. Note how much sooner in growth cycle buds appear compared to "normal" peonies. They look like the Audrey II plant from "Little Shop of Horrors." Peonies from Mars?

The other surprise is the odd growth of the “Chinese” peonies, which are shown. Unlike traditional peonies, which shoot up a few inches and then form a flower bud at the tip, these odd looking peonies form buds almost right away. Since they were transplanted last fall, I thought they might be shy about blooming this spring.

Not, apparently, from the number of buds shooting up.

Well, it looks like an interesting and surprising spring in the garden. The plum tree, which was sickly last spring, looks pretty robust. The lilacs are already budding.

Easter is here, amid a profusion of a sudden spring that followed a hard winter. I hope that analogy, the sudden and almost unexpected appearance of a beautiful new season, will be echoed in the lives of any who are struggling this spring.

God so loved the world that he sent his only son. Along with gnomes, peonies that appears to be from another planet, and assorted other flowers, let hope be the harvest of this spring.  Happy Easter!

Rose Gnome

This is the "new" rose that was transplanted from the farm last September. Not many roots, so it is good to see it coming back. The gnome? Who knows where it came from ...

Chinese Peonies in "new" garden by the wall

More "Audrey II" Peonies. I got about six clusters going. Audrey says they cost around $50 a plant, so, if she's right, it's $300 of peonies coming up. The smaller red tips are "regular" peonies, which are starting to show, but the peonies from Mars, besides an odd growth pattern, seem to be super early, too. This is the "wall" garden, irises and lillies showing behind the peonies.


Some early tulips already in bloom, shown here with the odd new peonies in another spot of the back garden by the deck. Some peach colored tulips are blooming elsewhere, and some crocuses are just starting to show. Yes, another gnome, too.

I've planed more of these yellow daffodils than any other kind. To me, they just look happy. Back garden under retaining wall, not far from new rose.


New crocus. Happy to see yellow, most of mine are blue, for some reason. Cate planted crocuses in her front yard, I like that idea and may try that this fall. This is side garden by the walkway--a shady spot, so new crocuses are a little slower.

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