Tree Peony Hatsugarasu

The sun never sets on the weeding to be done in the garden. This time of year most of the perennials have leafed out, but the volunteer seedlings are just showing themselves in the soft soil. The weeds are flowering and want to fling their seeds far and wide to insure their genetic material is perpetuated. What all these facts presented for your entertainment and education mean is that we are crawling around on hands and knees in the beds, trying to spare the chosen few baby plants, and yank the interlopers. On the back of the medium sized tree peony, hiding from the gardener who stands on the gravel path politely scanning for the opening of buds, the above bud is showing color.

From our previous tale of the opening of the large white tree peony, click
here to refresh your memory, we know that once the color shows on the buds, the whole flower can open in one day if the temperature is warm and the sun is shining. We skeedaddle inside to locate the camera, barely brushing the dirt from our knees and palms. It is already late afternoon, how will this affect the opening, we wonder. There are two buds on this plant, one much more tightly closed than the other. We will try and capture the stages of unfurling for both.

The next morning, with the rays of the sun not yet visible over the horizon beyond the arbor, the flash on the camera reflects the dew on petal and leaf still present from the moisture in the air.

At midday there is shade from the tall exbury azaleas growing behind this peony. The hidden bud is entirely open, The front bud is still tightly wound, but is showing signs of trying to burst free from the green covering.

By late afternoon, the second bud is more than half way open.

Dinnertime comes around, time to go inside and try and throw together something edible and relax. But first, another round with the camera shows the dawdling bud to be at a most photogenic stage of bloom.

Flower number one is full blown. It will be downhill from now on as the petals will not be able to join together again in the evenings.

Here is the nearly black Japanese tree peony, Paeonia suffruticosa’ Hatsugarasu’ which means the early crow, with its two flowers for this year. Thank you, Mister Crow, for gracing us with your wine colored ornaments.

Just to keep in the wine colored theme, this columbine, aquilegia ‘Barlow Black’ has started its bloom period. The columbines are sometimes difficult to photograph because the blooms face downward. This beauty is growing on the four foot high wall behind the main house. One can stand on the gravel path below and look up into the face of the flower without doing a contortion act. Put this one on the ‘remember this’ list, plant the hanging bell type flowering plants along the wall.

Just in case you didn’t think there would be any azalea photos in this post, we will end with the view looking toward the knot garden steps. There are two large unknown yellow decidous azaleas on each side of the steps, with knockout roses in front of each. The light pink dianthus is visible edging the steps that we wrote about yesterday. There is a dark pink evergreen azalea, Girard’s Rose, in the background under the pink dogwood. Only now noticed are two rosebuds just below the yellow azalea on the right, from Rosa ‘Moonlight’. The flower progression is speeding up, and we are ready!


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56 Responses to Tree Peony Hatsugarasu

  1. patientgardener says:

    I enjoyed your tale of the Peony opening – also great pictures

  2. tina says:

    Beautiful tree peony. I finally planted mine out. I toured a garden two weeks ago where the gardener had about a dozen! They were all tall and growing in the garden so I got brave and planted mine. I hope it does as well as yours.

  3. Frances, says:

    Helen, thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed it.

    Tina, I was worried you were mad at me, you usually stop by earlier. I have decided that I am possessed by Don Rickles, and sometimes he just has to show himself. Do forgive me. Good job taking the plunge to plant the tree peony. Keep it well watered, but good drainage. I would love to see a garden with several together, that must have been stunning.

  4. Gail says:


    Lovely photographs…the tree peonies are too lovely and too fleeting, sigh, could they stay just a bit longer in the garden? Columbine are indeed difficult to capture, but you have done a splendid job of showcasing the dark coloring on all your flowers.

    Regarding the tree peonies:I want to move mine but fear I will lose it, any thoughts on whether they will balk at a new neighborhood?


  5. Nancy J. Bond says:

    That peony is stunning! Great shots — it was great to watch it unfurl. 🙂

  6. Frances, says:

    Gail, thanks. I would say the the best time to move the tree peony would be in the fall, that is when the herbaceous peonies like to be dug. Just a guess, maybe google it?

    Nancy J., thanks. Too bad they are so short lived as flowers. The large white one lasted longer because there were so many more buds and they don’t open all at the same time. Hope this red one gets to be that large also.

  7. Shady Gardener says:

    You have such beautiful photos and a Lush,Beautiful yard. Quite the contrast to my Spring-is-just-
    arriving-fairly-bare-looking yard… 🙂 Always enjoy your visits and comments!

  8. Greg W says:

    Beautiful! And I like the way you did the stop-action-time-lapse series.

    The Japanese Tree Peopny is my favorite. Such a beautiful lush color.

    Thank you for sharing.

  9. Frances, says:

    Shady, thanks and you will have your lush when it is the right time for you. We will be sweltering in the heat. In the summer, I can only garden until about 10 AM, but I do get an early start, crack of dawn!

    Greg W., glad to see you. Thanks , I had to just keep checking the peony with camera in hand over three days time. That is a wonderful dark red. I had another plant of the same cultivar that died last year from the drought. I will be vigilant about water this year.

  10. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    That a beautiful Tree Peony (wait, that’s redundant!). The color of that Tree Peony is so rich with the dark flares, it is not surprising you spent the day with camera in hand snapping shots.

  11. Frances, says:

    MMD, thanks, and yes it is redundant. You have no idea how many pictures are taken each day here! (Or maybe you do) So few are worthy however ;->

  12. Brenda Kula says:

    The lady who owned this house before me planted something that someone yesterday observed might be a peony, but I’m not sure from looking at yours. It is a very full and large flower which has to be staked up. And the ants eat at it incessantly. What to put on it?

  13. Frances, says:

    Brenda, that sounds like an herbaceous peony. The ants are not harming it, they are always present on those types of peonies. They do need staked, unlike the tree peonies which have woody stems that persist during the winter. The other types die all the way back during the winter. Good luck with it.

  14. Titania says:

    Frances, again beautiful photography. I love your dianthus, that is one small plant that grows well in my garden in spring, winter and autumn.

  15. Frances, says:

    Titania, welcome and thanks for visiting. Glad to hear you can also grow the tree peony. Your travelogue on your blog was stupendous. You must have had a glorious time. I assume you are back to Aus now?

  16. ourfriendben says:

    Sigh… tree peonies. Surely the true royalty of the garden. Glad yours are thriving, Frances! Your garden is definitely worthy of royalty!

  17. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Simply gorgeous Frances. I know what you mean about trying to get pictures of flowers that face down. I tried several times today to try to get a good picture of a varigated Solomans Seal that is blooming from below. The blooms are so interesting the way they are formed but couldn’t get what I was wanting. Our Tree Peony isn’t quite ready to bloom. I can’t wait after seeing yours blooming.

  18. Rosebay says:

    Enjoyed the peony shots.

    Here are 2 peonies we grow here in Salem, NH.


  19. Cabs says:

    What an absolutely fabulous tree peony. Wonderful pictures!

  20. Piondröm says:

    Oohh my good!
    I who like Peaonys so much.
    This one was outstanding.
    Thank yoy for showing it.

  21. The Gardeness says:

    Your photos of the peony are so gorgeous. I can’t imagine what it’s like in person. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Frances, says:

    Our friend ben, thanks for the compliment. Tree peonies were only allowed in the emperor’s garden at one time, glad we can all enjoy them now.

    Lisa, thanks, can’t wait to see your in bloom also. Those solomon seals are so lovely and would make such a good macro shot, they just won’t cooperate. I ended up posting a group shot of them on Monday Report.

    Rosebay, thanks, lovely shots.

    Cabs, thanks, glad you liked them.

    Ken, thanks for stopping by. I admire your photographs very much.

    Gardeness, thanks. Some day the red one will be large and make more impact in the total garden view. For now, the photos are actually better than the real thing.;->

  23. Layanee says:

    That is a beauty! Love your ‘time lapse’ photography.

  24. Frances, says:

    Layanee, thanks. The tree peonies open so fast, you just need to keep checking on it through the day.

  25. Annie in Austin says:

    The visit may be fleeting, but when Tree Peonies bloom, it does feel like royalty has been present. The pair of early crows were lovely, Frances and the barlow columbine is pretty cool, too.

    If I could grow an azalea, ones like your yellows would be on the short list!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  26. Frances, says:

    Annie, if you could only have one…….Thanks for the kind words. We are to have a cool front move in this weekend, maybe the azaleas and peony will last longer then.

  27. Karen Hall says:

    Hi Frances,
    I give up – I am leaving this comment using blogger – then maybe you will get it.
    Wonderful post I want a Tree Peony Hatsugarasu.
    I also enjoyed your last post as well.
    I have left an award thing over on my garden blog for you if you care to take a look.
    (An artists garden)

  28. Frances, says:

    Karen, thanks for making the effort to leave a message when blogger was totally against your doing it. And thanks for your kind words about the tree peony post. And thanks for the award thing, I will be right over to check it out!

  29. Esther Montgomery says:

    The very top photo – of the peony bud – I’ve been sitting here looking at it – the shapes, the colour, especially the shapes.


  30. Frances, says:

    Esther, That one is a pleasant shape.

  31. lisa says:

    LOVE the time-lapse pictures! That’s a beautiful flower…are they fragrant?

  32. Frances, says:

    Lisa, thanks. Glad you enjoyed the tree peony show. They do have a slight musky fragrance, not unpleasant, but the nearly azaleas scent is so strong it is hard to tell.

  33. Amy says:

    So very gorgeous! I love that deep burgundy – the first time I’ve seen that colour on a columbine blossom.

  34. Frances, says:

    Amy, thanks. In real life that looks almost black. The sun coming through from the back is what shows its burgundy color. It looks good with the pink dianthus near it.

  35. Cinj says:

    I love peonies. They are so gorgeous and the ones I smelled have always smelled so wonderful. Too bad they’re so fleeting.

  36. Frances, says:

    cinj, they are wonderful, aren’t they. They tree peonies are not nearly as fragrant as the herbaceous peonies, sadly, nor do the blooms last as long.

  37. Sherry at the Zoo says:

    Wow! That color is gorgeous! My peonies are a pale pink. They are over 30 years old and still going strong. But, I have to say I think I like the color of yours much, much better!

  38. jodi says:

    What a marvelous, marvelous plant and a great series of photos to go with it.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence in my talks, Frances. Friday’s went well, but I’m very tired and and first up in the morning so I just wanted to stop by and say hullo before turning in. Glad to see the azaleas, too, of course!

  39. Frances, says:

    Sherry, thanks. My herbaceous peonies are very light pink also, I wonder if they are the same as yours. They were passalongs from a neighbor. I will post a photo when they bloom around Mother’s Day.

    Jodi, Thanks for taking time to visit. Wish I could hear your talks, the show sounds like a dream, all my favorite things, music, art and gardening and you!

  40. A Softer Side says:

    An Award for YOU!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Melissa (blotonist)

  41. margaret says:

    I garden on a slope, too, and have for 20 years…so I relate. Sisyphus! Your photos are amazing, and I am reminded of so many plants (like the black ‘Nora Barlow’ type of columbine) that have lived with me and left over the years. Was it something I said…?
    Thanks for all that you put into this, and for sharing it.

  42. Marie says:

    The tree peonys are stunning!

  43. The Garden Faerie says:

    The colors are so lush and deep!!! ooooh! My kitty corner across the street neigbbor brings me by the flower from a tree peony each year, but ours aren’t blooming yet and are pastel when they do.
    I’ve also mentioned your blog as one I enjoy reading in my latest entry.
    ~ Monica

  44. Frances, says:

    A softer side, Melissa, thanks so much for the E award. It is very much appreciated. Thanks for the honor.

    Margaret, welcome and thanks for visiting. Do you have a blog? There was no link detected. Sisyphus indeed. That is pretty funny, I will think of you each time I climb the hill from now on. The black barlow columbine is not as vigorous as some, but I have made sure the seeds are spread about in case there are losses. Get some seeds and try again!

    Marie, thanks. Glad you enjoyed them.

    Monica, Thanks so much for the honor of your award. It is much appreciated. What a nice neighbor to show her her peony. I would love to have some pastels also, besides the white and dark red. Yellow is the one I would love to have. Maybe one day.

  45. Cindy says:

    Frances, both of the peonies are just glorious. The depth of color on them is amazing … oh, to be able to grow such beauties! ::: SIGH ::: Thank you for sharing them with us: we are very grateful that you take lots of photographs of your garden. I may have to get some of those columbine seeds and see if I can get them to grow here. In our warmer climate, the coloring probably won’t be that rich, though (another sigh).

  46. Frances, says:

    Cindy, thanks. I have added your blog, Carpe Rutila to the sidebar here and look forward to big things from you! Your kind words mean a lot. Good luck with the columbines, maybe they will grow like the nice chysanthas.

  47. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    What a great tree peony!

  48. Frances, says:

    Katarina, thanks for visiting. Glad you like hatsugarasu, we like it too.

  49. Daisy K @ With a Green Thumb says:

    I am mesmerized but the photos in your post! I am so relaxed now… and quite jealous.
    Thanks for allowing us to share in your joy.


  50. Frances, says:

    Daisy K, welcome and thanks for visiting. It is my pleasure to share photos of my garden with the blogdom, glad you like them.

  51. joey says:

    The life awakening of your tree peony was a delight, Frances. Wish all would take time to see the beauty of the day that you show so brilliantly through your talent.

  52. Frances, says:

    Joey, what a wonderful, (blush) comment. You made my day! Thanks.

  53. Ewa says:

    What a beautiful pictures of the peony tree. I love the color!

  54. Frances, says:

    Ewa, thanks, nice to see you. It was a beautiful dark red, long gone now sadly. We hope for more blooms next year. The flowering time is only a few days, especially with only two buds. Our white one has many more, and the bloom period was several weeks.

  55. Kathleen says:

    WOW Frances. Thanks for including the link on your “emergence” post. The peony was truly worth viewing. Now I REALLY want another…..

    Hi Kathleen, thanks. I normally don’t reply to comments on the older posts, but since it is you…..:-)

  56. Pingback: Three Tree Peony Dreams « Fairegarden

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