Silver Creek Garden

passion and obsession for gardening, food, and living lightly

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Species Peonies


Fernleaf Peony, Paeonia tenuifolia

May is the month that peonies really make a statement in the garden.  But before the named hybrids begin to bloom, we welcome the diminutive species peonies.  The first in our garden is Paeonia tenuifolia, the Fernleaf Peony.

This European native would be worth growing just for its ferny foliage, but the early red flowers are pretty showy, too.  It likes limey soil, so we do need to add lime on occasion to keep it happy in our acidic soil.


Caucasian Peony, Paeonia mlokosewitschii,

Next to bloom is Paeonia mlokosewitschii, the Caucasian Peony.  Another peony of short stature, this peony has lovely foliage and cheerful single yellow flowers.

This one is happy with our heavy, acidic soil, and every year the clump gets bigger.


Chinese woodland peony, Paeonia veitchii

Our third (or maybe first, since it was the first species peony we got) is Paeonia veitchii, Chinese Woodland Peony.  This one likes partial shade, and is so happy in the garden that it self seeds.  It is fun to have a peony that will bloom in less than full sun.

In another few weeks, the hybrid and tree peonies will bloom, with their enormous flowers.  For now, we’re enjoying the smaller ancestors and their smaller blooms.


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Skagit Tulips

Using the ultra zoom to capture the random individual in a mass of color.

Skagit Tulips

Masses of tulips creating stripes of color.

Spent last Monday flower touring in Skagit County.  We don’t do it every year, but once in a while, we do go look at the tulip fields in April.  I’m not a big fan of tulips in the garden, but when planted by the acre they are quite a sight when in bloom.  One of the reasons we wanted to visit the fields is for me to try out my new camera, a Canon SX50 ultra zoom.  It’s been fun trying to capture birds with that long zoom, but flowers are much easier!  They don’t fly away.  Tried some fun angles, using the tilting lcd screen.  Played with the aperture priority mode, as well as manual mode.  Pretty sophisticated for a point and shoot.

pink tulips

Playing with the tilt screen to shoot from very low.

We don’t visit the tulip fields every year.  They can be pretty crazy, people stopping cars in the middle of the road to view the flowers without having to pay for parking.  We did pay for parking, but unfortunately several of the lots were too muddy to park in, so we ended up joining the hordes parking along the roadside.