If we were to count the trips made from the nursery area to the greenhouse, from the vegetable gardens to the display beds, I think the distance we cover would be measured in miles…..many. No gym work outs for us, just the regular lifting, hauling, bending, walking, and constant moving that goes along with what we do everyday. No complaints, it all feels great. And, here are a few things in the gardens that make all this worthwhile.
One giant task every season is labeling the plants in the nursery. This is pretty much always Rick’s job, his plant nomenclature far exceeds mine, as customers well know! Everyday new plants are potted, then labeled, and put out into the sales area.
Our friend Lucky likes to keep the plants company
And…..two more plants that we feel are worth mentioning……
Species peony is a term used for those forms of peonies that are found in nature, the original representatives of their type, unaltered by human hybridization. There are at least 61 recognized wild species and subspecies. As interest and study continues, this number will surely change. Many (or most) of the wild species are endangered or threatened in their native range due to over collecting or habitat loss. It is important to buy only propagated plants, and since it takes about 4 -8 years to grow them to a saleable size, they can be pricey.
The species we choose to grow are those that are more shade tolerant. (P. japonica, P. obovata, P. veitchii , P. banatica) This fits in well with the overall focus of the nursery and makes them excellent companion plants with the other plants we grow. Right now they are well on their way to setting flower buds over very attractive foliage of coral, red, and deep green. Emerging very early with the spring ephemerals really adds a lot to the landscape, both in color and texture. We’ve never had a problem with them and late frosts. They seem to take them in stride.
They are relatively easy to grow. A woodland setting of well drained soil in light to dappled shade seems to work very well. Avoid wet areas. No staking is needed , as with the hybrids, and there are no significant pest problems. The foliage stays healthy looking all season. In September the seed pods open to a beautiful combination of blue-black seeds set in bright red pods. A real bonus for any garden. We do not provide any special protection for the winter months. If you grow the hybrid peonies and the tree peonies, the species peonies will extend the season for you. We really enjoy their color and form growing amongst the other woodland plants. Visitors to Fernwood can expect to see many of these ( and other) wonderful peonies growing in the display gardens. Come check them out!