Peonies were the topic of recent Garden Club meet

MD-garden club 2xxx-110314
CAMBRIDGE — The Eastern Shore Hospital Center’s English Hall was the site location for the Dorchester Garden Club’s Oct. 10, meeting. Members were welcomed by hostesses Helen Davies and Kathy Miller as they brought in their garden entries for the mini-flower show. Lunch was provided by the culinary staff of ESHC, and was followed by the speaker for the day.
In China the peony is known as the “King of the Flowers” and the speaker, Kathleen Gagan has first-hand knowledge of planting, dividing and caring for these sweet smelling beauties. Ms. Gagan owner and founder of Peony’s Envy, is a linguist and international corporate communications consultant turned lady farmer. After living abroad, she returned to her home in New Jersey to a life as an entrepreneur. She gives presentations on peony care, planting, cultivation, history and garden design across the country. (You might have seen her on Martha Stewart Living.)
She grows peonies because of their resilience, deer resistance and beauty. The deer resistance claim should catch any gardener’s eye.
During her presentation she repeatedly mentioned that everything she was showing and advising about selecting and growing peonies can be found on her web site www.peonysenvy.com, which is something for the gardener to consider when questioning the purchase of new and sometimes expensive peonies.
This writer checked out her web site, and it truly does cover any questions a gardener might have about the planting and care of peonies in our region.
For example: Upright peonies need hot sunshine for at least 10 hours per day and if any peonies are to be used as cut flowers they should be cut as buds before they open. Peonies typically bloom from 7 to 10 days, so it is a good idea to plant different varieties for an extended bloom time — as one variety goes out of bloom another will begin. The cost of purchasing peonies might seem a bit steep but the plants can last for more than 50 years in the garden. That makes them quite a bargain.
Her favorite peony is a late blooming yellow Intersectional also known as Itoh. The Itoh as a mature plant can bloom for three or more weeks and produce 50 or more blooms.
Additional to her presentation, Ms. Gagan brought a van load of bare-root tuber peonies that could be purchased both before and after her presentation. With thanks to her for her wonderful presentation, Dorchester County should be in full peony bloom next spring. Now, that would be enough to make any gardener envious.
Following the program, the monthly Business Meeting was brought to order by President Mary Jo Papin; reports were given and the results of the mini-flower show were read.
Immediately following the meeting, a workshop demonstration of the division of a peony bare-root tuber structure was presented in the greenhouse of ESHC.
Mini flower show judges for the day were: Division I– Horticulture– Donna Harms and Nancy Hebdon; Division II– Design—Susie Middleton and Beverly Shelly. Judy Slaughter, Accredited Judge and DGC member, acted as Consultant.
Results of the Horticulture and Design awards for the day were:
Division I – Horticulture
Class 1 Rosa (Roses)
1a. Miniature single: 1st Joan P. Johnson
1b. Miniature spray: HM Celi Dragich
1c. Hybrid Tea: 1st Celi Dragich, 2nd Mary Jo Papin
Class 2 Conifers-One branch
2a. With Cones or Berries:  1st Celi Dragich
2b. Without Cones or Berries: 1st Joan P. Johnson, 2nd Beverly Shelly, 3rd Kathe Scanlon
Class 3 Broadleaf Evergreen Tree or Shrub-one branch
3a. Flowering: 1st Susan Middleton, 2nd Kathy Miller, 3rd Cookie Brohawn
3b. Foliage: 1st Joan P. Johnson, 2nd Cookie Brohawn, 3rd Susan Middleton HM Annilly Jones
3c. Fruited: 1st Beverly Shelly, 2nd Cookie Brohawn
Class 4 Deciduous Tree or Shrub-one branch
4b Foliage: 1st Susan Middleton,2nd Beverly Shelly, 3rd Annilly Jones
4c. Fruited:  1st Susan Middleton
Class 5 Ilex (Holly)-one branch
5a. Foliage: 1st Beverly Shelly, 2nd Susan Middleton
5b. Fruited: 1st Ann Kirtland, 2nd Joan P. Johnson, 3rd Cookie Brohawn
Class 6 Container Grown Plants
6a. Flowering: 1st Cookie Brohawn, 2nd Beverly Shelly
6b. Foliage: 1st Jackie Wolfle, 2nd Cookie Brohawn
Class 7 Open Class
7a: Annual: 1st Winkie Jones, 2nd Kathy Miller, 3rd Joan P. Johnson, 3rd Joan P. Johnson, HM Patti Hopkins
7b. Perennial: 1st Cookie Brohawn, 2nd Annilly Jones, 3rd Kathy Miller
7c. Biennial: 1st Joan P. Johnson
7e. Vines: 1st Cookie Brohawn, 2nd Susan Middleton, 3rd Joan P. Johnson
Class 8 Dahlias
8a. Single: 1st Ann Kirtland
8c. Any Other: 1st Winkie Jones
Class 9 Herbs-Group of three (3) cut specimens to one container
9a. Same cultivar: 1st Cookie Brohawn, 2nd Susan Middleton, 3rd Winkie Jones
Class 9 Herbs-Group of three (3) cut specimens to one container
9b. Different cultivars: 1st Kathy Miller, 2nd Martha Hoyer, 3rd Celi Dragich, HM Linda Easter, Beverly Shelly, Cookie Brohawn
Class 10 Chrysanthemum- one spray
10c. Decorative: 2nd Joan P. Johnson
10d. Any Other: 2nd Beverly Shelly
Class 11 Five (5) fruits or vegetables shown on a tray
11. 1st Susan Middleton, 2nd Cookie Brohawn, 3rd Martha Keating
Division II-Design
Design Class 1: “The Lady Farmer” A Traditional Design
1st Susan Middleton
Design Class 2: “The Perfect Site” A Kinetic Hanging Design
1st Shirley Chatham, 2nd Judy Slaughter, 3rd Julia Berman

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