Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Peonies open up in Robertson

Today was a nasty hot, windy day. Even by 7:30 a.m. it was hot and windy, and the Peonies were starting to pop open. I picked several of the herbaceous peonies, after taking a round of photos - to protect the flowers from being destroyed on their first day. My friend Lucy is looking after them for me.

I had to go to Liverpool Hospital this morning, for a P.E.T. scan. That meant asking David to drive me, as the instructions explicitly state that patients presenting for P.E.T. scans must be driven to the hospital by someone else, so that the patient is relaxed when they arrive. Apparently this is so that the muscles are relaxed, which otherwise masks the uptake of the glucose solution which they use as a "carrier" for the radioactive trace which is used for the test. Anyway, that was not much of an ordeal, but the drive back was very nasty, with strong winds buffetting all the traffic, including my little square, and "boxy" vehicle, which is susceptible to cross-winds. We made it back, all right, fortunately. But the weather was very unpleasant - hot as hell in Sydney - and this is just mid-October. Already there was a bushfire on the Illawarra escarpment today. Just as well it was on the east side of the catchment, for otherwise, the westerly winds today would have driven a fire right across the Catchment area, and nothing could have stopped it. Anyway, back to Peonies.
Here is the first flower of the famous Coral Charm. This flower is slightly imperfect in form, unfortunately. It might open more evenly. It is showing the lightness of colour, which becomes more and more evident as the flower ages (fades) to a delicious pale creamy pink.
Here is the first flower of Paula Fay - just about to open properly. Strangely this flower did not react to the hot weather as much as Coral Charm did - for when I left this morning CC was still a tight bud, but by the time I got back, it had opened up (as you can see above). Paula Fay has a distinct bluish tinge to the flower, in contrast to Coral Charm. The next flower is Coral Fay, which you first saw in Sunday's posting. It looks different today, because of the brilliant morning light, and two days of age on the flower. Compare the two photos, for interest sake. Look at the earlier photo again here.

Coral Fay (this plant) and Paula Fay (above) were both introduced by the same grower, (Orville Fay) in America, from seeds collected in a monastery garden, but the plants do not appear to be closely related. Both have Paeonia peregrina in their breeding, but the flower above shows more influence of P. lactiflora, whereas Coral Fay (below) shows strong evidence of its P. tenuifolia origins visible in both its bright red colour, and especially in the finely divided foliage.
And now for something completely different. This is the lovely "Good Lady" - a hybrid Tree Peony bred in Melbourne by Dr Bernard Chow, a famous Tree Peony breeder. This is the flower seen in the very early morning light, as soon as it had opened. After one day of exposure to light, the flower was already showing a considerable colour shift to a lovely soft lilac pink. It is always amazing the tone shifts which this flower achieves. And it will change more in the next few days, as you will see. It has another strong characteristic, and that is the plant is a good strong grower, with lovely healthy foliage. I love this plant. Not only is it "different", it is just a truly charming flower.

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