This tree peony is growing at the far end of the knot garden at the top of the Fairegarden hill behind the main house. It is guarded by the loyal concrete foo dog, barely visible at the bottom middle of the image. A couple of years ago the zen gravel garden was added to the space. The tree peony had a portion overhanging the box. The sharp shovel was thrust downward at the base of the plant to remove, and replant elsewhere, the offending bit. It lives, that offending bit.
Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Hatsugarasu’, which means the early crow, or first crow of the year, alluding to the near black, actually more red, coloration, is growing well in the front of the bed known as the Azalea Walk. It too has been the subject of a previous post, link offered at the end.
Being younger than the white tree peony, it has fewer blooms, but is reliable in the yearly show that increases with age. These are plants for the patient gardener, expensive, slow to establish, but worth the waiting period.
After the success of tree peonies one and two, the lust was lit within the shamelessly obsessed gardener’s heart. At a local nursery a large pot with a little six inch stick was noticed. It was instantly recognized as a tree peony stick, the tag had a photo of a beautiful purple bloom, Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Kamatanishiki’, tapestry from the Kamata province in China. I gladly, well, with a smidge of tightwaddedness quickly brushed aside, paid the forty dollar price for this promising stick. For years we waited, making sure the little stick was protected from harm in the way of careless booted feet with a rock wall fortress. Extra water was given in times of drought, even though the tree peonies are drought tolerant once established. It grew, painfully slowly until this year, 2011, three buds emerged.
But, to paraphrase, *Southeast Tennessee, we have a problem*. Tree peony number three is beautiful beyond my wildest imaginings, seriously. But it is pink. In no realm of photoshopping heaven could this be called purple, or even lavender. Onward to the magic reference guide, Google, we go. Some of the photos claiming to be Kamatanishiki look similar to this pink, but most are more clearly shades of purple. More clicking reveals that there has been some confusion in the nursery trade with this one, sometimes sold with the wrong name. My friend Mr. McGregor’s Daughter helped me out with a suggestion of Kamata fuji. Due diligence has lead us to a ruling that this is indeed what we have growing here in the Fairegarden. Yes, thank you MMD!
Someday, perhaps, the vision will be met of the decidious Azalea Walk in bloom, fronted by the three tree peonies with flowers unfurled, all together. At the base of the post with the concrete ball is the root cutting of White Phoenix. There is a very small bud on it. In the middle is Kamata fuji with three glorious open flowers, and far right is Hatsugarasu with one late bloom hanging on. Will it ever happen, the simultaneous bloom of dreams come true? Never say never.
Other Tree Peony posts for those who need more: