Peonies forum: No more fern leafs

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Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
Aug 20, 2016 3:56 PM CST
I am officially out of the fern leaf gardening as of yesterday. Taking the bed down and spreading the soil to be planted in grass. Tired of pulling weeds. I will keep the standard peonies for a while longer. I sent 3 of my old heirloom double fern leafs to Mr. Buchite of Hidden Springs for evaluation as to a possible different strain of the species. All the others are divided and ready for the local garden club to use or sell as they choose. I kept Adelman's Orphan since it was an unique hybrid. I carefully dug and washed it and wrapped it in a wet towel to keep it fresh for temporary potting. Went out into the garage this morning to mix the soil for the pot when my wife tossed a peony root on to the bench and said I must have had some roots in my shorts pockets when she washed them. Tossed some more out as I looked for the towel holding Adelman's Orphan. Turned out she had grabbed the wet towel and washed it. There was some of the crown and roots left but it had been severely divided into junk. I said a few bad words but it could be "the sign" telling me to change hobbies. The clump of the true species single fern leaf turned out to be large and healthy. I think I made 5 large divisions from it.
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Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
Aug 20, 2016 6:55 PM CST


Jerry, that's so sad. Though I understand what a chore all of it is. Then to have the orphan go through the wash! No chance of saving? What a sad bad day.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Aug 20, 2016 7:02 PM CST
So sorry to hear that you have rid of your fernleafs. You grow the nicest specimens! But when the work of growing them becomes more tedious than the joy they bring, the plants have to go. I have been trying to cull my collection as well. If ever you want to grow the Adelman's orphan peony, let me know. I think I can definitely divide it next fall. This fall maybe too soon to divide since it was only planted last year.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Aug 21, 2016 8:52 AM CST
That's one lucky garden club--your fernleafs are amazing. I often wonder as the summer heat sets in why I garden as well, weeding is such a chore. I think I'd miss the blooms too much if I were to stop, though.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
Aug 21, 2016 9:09 AM CST
They should be pleasantly surprised when they unpack the box and see the total amount. I did not keep a running account of them as I cleaned and divided them but there should be over 15 plants. More than enough for their primary garden with several left over for their private gardens.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Aug 22, 2016 8:47 AM CST
Oh Jerry. I am so sorry (though I also understand the reasoning) to not have your lovely garden to look forward to. You inspired me to order some more fernleafs of my own and to donate a few to the botanical garden which is trying to increase their collection with more than Gold medal winners.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
Aug 22, 2016 10:55 AM CST
I still have about a dozen of the regular peonies. The fern leaf bed always became an eyesore after blooming and required more work than fun. They went to a good cause since the local club originated and maintain a special garden around the statue of a very special person, William Jennings Bryan, of the "Scopes monkey trial" fame. He was born in Salem, IL before moving to another state.

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