A Peony For...Southern California?!?

There it is...'Misaka':
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A peony for Southern California, the intersectional or Itoh peony, as it is called.  In a spirit of adventure, I decided to try one.  Monrovia is touting them as doing...well?...okay?...in no-chill climates like mine.  Hmm....really?  Always be skeptical of something who is trying to sell you something, even if they do have a degree in botany. 
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Will the peony be like those lilacs that supposedly do well in Southern California?  95% of the Lilacs here are duds, 4% are unimpressive, and 1% are wonderful).  The "Itoh" peonies are hybrids between herbaceous peonies and tree peonies.  They apparently do not have the heavenly fragrance of herbaceous peonies-- the two that have opened so far in my garden, at least, smell musty/woodsy, like Grandma's cedar chest. 
It was ridiculously expensive.   I'm usually so good about not pushing my zone, and fairly good about not falling for hype.  This time I fell for it.  The musty fragrance would have stopped me cold, had a flower been open at the garden center.  Grandma's cedar chest.  Really.  

Another plant new to my garden this year is the common, ordinary, humble, weedy-for-some Batchelor's Button or Corn Flower,  proving that cheap can be as beautiful as expensive, where plants are concerned.
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Beauty is sometimes beside the point--sometimes bragging rights get in there, or simple curiosity.   I've seen comments from areas where peonies thrive--comments identical to comments made here in Southern California about Cymbidium orchids or Epiphyllums--to the effect of, "Bah, humbug!  Beautiful flowers for a few days or weeks, then the rest of the year not worth looking at."   Shall I feel that way about the peony?  Will the Corn Flower be weedy? 
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If you are wondering what the puppies do while I am gardening, yesterday they ate another roll of toilet paper, pooped it all out, and then ate it again.  And the rubber gasket off the bottom of the garage door.  And the safety sensor wire on the garage door mechanism. 
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Comments

  1. What we puppy-lovers endure! Mine have eaten my sofa (currently off at the upholsterers), almost every lovely cushion I had, gnawed on the stair railings, weeded on my new dining table the day it arrived, and pulled out many of my favourite plants. But I can't imagine the house without them!

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  2. Ha ha Marisa! I know what you mean. I can't imagine being without them either. And you should see the baseboards and the chair legs here!

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  3. I have been doing my best not to succumb to these peonies, since I was more than a fool for all those low-chill lilacs and disappointed time after time! I think I will give them a few years and let someone else do the testing and if I see them doing well in other gardens, I'll consider them! Keep us posted!

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  4. Peonies can be difficult plants sometimes, getting them to flower being the hardest part. Pity about the 'fragrance' though.
    What a coincidence, I've planted cornflowers this year too.
    Always love to hear about your puppies, makes me feel better when I see the damage that mine has done, and he's not a puppy anymore.

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  5. They do alright here in so. Virginia too. When we first got them in the garden center I was stunned at the price and thought we would still have them at the end of the season. They did not last two weeks, and no one complained about the price.

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  6. Your cornflower is so beautiful, quite different from ours. The yellow paeonia is also a beauty. Overhere it's a very expensive one. I have not one of these.
    Have a great weekend and hugs for your puppy's

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  7. I've heard that some southern gardeners have luck digging up their bulbs and fridgeing them for a few weeks...perhaps that'd enable you to grow a more typical peony?

    After living in the Bay Area all my life, I moved up to the Washington badlands 30 years ago. I couldn't wait to throw peonies in the ground, and I wasn't disappointed. That warm perfume! Those heavenly pompons of creamy color! Sure, you only have a few weeks, but for me, it's WORTH IT.

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