|The bloom I spied through the window
This is Paeonia cambessedesii, also known as the Majorcan Peony. The first time I tried to get this plant, available as part of a limited supply offer from Annie's Annuals & Perennials, I pushed the "submit" button a moment too late and lost out. The second time I received notice of its availability, I didn't dilly-dally with other selections - I placed my order immediately. I planted it from a 4-inch pot in March 2014. It didn't flower that year or in 2015 and I frankly held out little hope. My history with peonies is a sad one. Many years ago, I tried planting a herbaceous peony. Knowing that our winter chill was probably insufficient to satisfy the plant's needs, I tried fooling it by depositing ice on top of the soil at periodic intervals throughout the winter months. I knew it was harebrained idea but I really, really love peonies. Needless to say, that experiment was unsuccessful. Next, I planted a tree peony. After 3 or 4 years of nothing, I got one flower, then years and years of nothing. After we moved into our current home in 2010, I planted another tree peony. Nothing. Then, in 2013, I planted an Itoh peony, an intersectional hybrid advertised as suitable to warmer Southern California areas. It came with buds but it hasn't bloomed since it was first planted. For a tiny specimen, the price for the Majorcan peony was relatively high but I had to try, didn't I?
|This photograph was taken 2 days after the bud opened
So, maybe this will be a repeat of my tree peony experience but, as the saying goes, hope springs eternal. The plant is still dinky - no more than 4 inches in diameter - but it's alive and it's produced a bloom! I put my name back on Annie's wish list to receive notice when more of these plants become available.
Unlike the peony, the other spring jewels in my garden this week are not at all shy, although they can be difficult to photograph. But the other day when I was on the back patio cutting my husband's hair, a job I somehow got drafted to perform many years ago and, despite my best efforts, haven't been able to pass off to a more qualified party, I was repeatedly buzzed by the local hummingbirds. Standing between them and their feeder, they apparently decided that I posed no threat - or they were simply too embroiled in fighting with one another to worry about me. So, when I finished with my chore, I sat down with my camera aimed at their feeder. Mine is a point-and-click camera so the quality isn't great but I was still pleased to get such close shots.
|I believe this is a female Rufous hummingbird. Unfortunately, the colorful male Rufous that visited the feeder several times during my husband's haircut chose not to return once I had my camera in hand.
|I believe this is a male Anna's hummingbird. Anna's are residents here year-round but Rufous, described by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as the "feistiest hummingbird in North America" are short-term visitors.
My last shot is fuzzier still but I thought you might enjoy it. It's the first time I've been mooned by a hummingbird.
For more Wednesday vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.
All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party