Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
I'm still waiting for my peonies to burst into bloom. They're up, but their marble-sized buds remain tightly closed.
Apparently my peonies aren't the only late arrivals this spring. The Minnesota Peony Society just announced that it's canceling this weekend's annual show, citing weather conditions that have delayed bloom.
Peonies typically flower between mid-May and early June, with many in full bloom around Memorial Day. Not this year. No peonies, no peony show.
"It's unbelievable -- we're two to three weeks behind," says grower Harvey Buchite, owner of Hidden Springs Flower Farm (www.hiddenspringsflowerfarm.com) in Spring Grove, Minn.
He's had to cancel and reschedule his own grand opening three times this season. (It's finally happening this weekend.) Hidden Springs has a section of early-blooming hybrids in full flower, he says. But the common garden peony, which blooms a couple weeks later, has a ways to go.
That's bad news for brides who were counting on peonies for their June wedding bouquets, he says. "There are all these anxious brides, wondering if they'll have peonies for their June 15-16 weddings."
And will they? "It's really touch-and-go," he says. "The following weekend there's a better chance."
Peonies rely on heat, which has been in short supply so far this spring. "Once the peonies come up, what really moves them along in bloom cycle is temperature," Buchite says. "They've been in suspended animation."
On the bright side, the early peonies that have opened are looking good. "The plant material is beautiful," Buchite says. "Cool temperatures keep things fresh, and maybe it was too cold for diseases to take hold."
So if you have peonies in your garden, just be patient a little longer. They will bloom, according to Buchite. "At some point, you just can't stop nature."
And if you were looking forward to the annual peony show, you'll also have to be patient. It will return next year. "We look forward to 2014, and hopefully, a peony season more in keeping with typical bloom timing," the society said in a release announcing the cancellation.
How about in your garden? Any peony sightings yet? How big are your buds?
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