Friday, June 29, 2012

Prairie Peony Society Annual Show

by  Shelley Brenner

Every year, the Prairie Peony Society Annual Show starts with enthusiasm and high expectations.  This year was no different.  However, the weather may have lowered the enthusiasm and expectations somewhat in the weeks preceding the show. Regina (where most of our members reside) experienced hail, high winds, and one night very close to freezing then extremely hot weather.  Lots of members were saying that many of their peonies were done or close to being done prior to the show.  As seems to be typical of our show o matter which weekend we hold it, the temperature soared for the two days of our show.  Thankfully, the venue where we held the show, the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre, had air conditioning.  The temperature must have been set perfectly because the peonies didn't close up during judging, which happened at one of our previous shows.

photo credit:  Shelley Brenner
The Thursday before the show, a few Prairie Peony Society members began setting up tables, hanging the curtain behind the Court of Honour, putting out informative signs, putting together the flower vases, and establishing space for each category in the show.   Set-up was complete within three hours and would make it considerably faster for members to get their entries ready the next morning.

On the first day of the show, many members were in early (around 7 a.m.) to prepare their peonies and floral art for display.  Three hours are generally set aside for this preparation prior to judging.  Some of our members have a large number of varieties of peonies to display and this year was no different.  Every last minute was used to get their entries in on time.  Once all entries were ready, the judging began.  This year, Delores Nelson judged Artistic Floral Design and Goblets ad Bowls.  Bernie Zaharik judged all the peony entries.  Clerking was completed by Dorothy Rogers, Brian Porter, Shelley Brenner, and Gladys Ning.  Photography was judged by Shelley Brenner, Dorothy Rogers, and Gladys Sykes.

Public viewing began Friday at 1:30 p.m. and went until 8:00 p.m. that evening.  On Saturday,, public viewing began at 10:00 a.m. and went until 3:45 p.m., at which time, our President, Doug Bradford, gave a small speech and introduced Anne Leskiw, one of the original-founding members of Prairie Peony Society.  Anne was there to pass the original guest book to Doug.  It signified a changing of the guard and the start of a new beginning for our society.  After the change Doug indicated that for a small donation, the public could take home some peonies that any of the entrants didn't want to take home with them.  This is an incredibly popular tradition that we have at the show.  Lots of people showed up near the end to take in the displays and then waited around for the peony dispersal.  This year proved to be better than previous years for donations as we pulled in almost $300.00 which is the most we've taken in recent years.

This year, a number of peony categories remained empty.  That could be attributed to the weather, the change in show dates (one week later this year than previous years), or possibly both.  In the past, our Annual Show has been the second-last weekend in June.  This year our new President, Doug Bradford, changed the show dates to the last weekend in June after polling the members.

Doug explains:  "By adjusting the annual show date by five to seven days, (from) June 22nd (to) June 29th for the Prairie Peony Society, (it) gives members an opportunity to showcase different cultivars and the public an opportunity to view different peony blooms as was the case this year when considerably fewer hybrids but many more lactifloras were on display."  The Prairie Peony Society members still managed to pull together 185 entries in peony stems, 12 entries in photography, 20 entries in Artistic Floral Design, and six entries in bowls/goblets for a show total of 223 entries.

The most heavily entered section was pink Japanese lactiflora peonies with 20 entries.  The light pink double lactifloras were second at 13 entries and the white lactifloras were third with 11 entries.  We had a few more Artistic Floral Design entries than previous years.  The category where the design was to be in an unusual container sparked a lot of creative juices for our entrants as we had some truly clever designs in that category.  It was also the most entered category of Artistic Floral Design with 7 entries.

photo credit:  Shelley Brenner

This year, the Prairie Peony Society Annual Show started with enthusiasm and high expectations, which may have initially been lowered.  However, we had a great show again this year.  Everyone enjoyed themselves.  The peonies were pretty nice considering the weather before the show.  Lots of people remarked how nice the fragrance was in the show room, and members of the public got to go home with some exceptional blossoms.  I think we're all looking forward to next year with renewed enthusiasm.  How could you not be enthusiastic if you saw the variety of peonies that we can grow right here in Saskatchewan?

                                 The top entries this year were as follows:
Best Bloom in Show Charles Burgess Entrant:   Gladys Sykes
Best Three Stem Peony Exhibit Red Charm Entrant:   Ray Brecht
Best Intersectional Peony Garden Treasure Entrant:   Doug Bradford
Best Hybrid Peony Red Charm Entrant:   Ray Brecht

Best Floral Design:

In an unusual container Genie using Kopper Kettle Entrant:   Doug Bradford
Best Bowl Garden Treasure Entrant:   Doug Bradford
Best Photograph Joanna Marlene Entrant:   Doug Bradford
Best Naturally Grown Peony Duchess des Nemours Entrant:   Gladys Sykes
Best Tree Peony High Noon Entrant:   Jim Dolittle
Best  Single Peony Mahogany Entrant:   Brian Porter
Best Japanese Peony Charles Burgess Entrant:   Gladys Sykes
Best Chinese Double Peony Glory Halleluiah Entrant:   Brian Porter
Best Chinese Semi-Double Peony Nice Gal Entrant:   Brian Porter

Friday, June 22, 2012


Certains des pivoines 1187 affichés

QUÉBEC FESTIVAL winner of the ALPHONSE DESJARDINS trophé whit HÉLÈNE CORRIVEAU all catégorie  Lucie Pepin

gérant de la Van den Hende JARDIN BOTANIQUE

À la Société québécoise Pivoine et Jardin botanique Van den Hende Show qui s'est tenu le 16 et 17 Juin, 1187 pivoines ont été présentés et il y avait 1 750 visiteurs. La plantation de plus de 150 pivoines ont été faites par les deux sociétés. Voici quelques-unes des manifestations de pivoines de la série.


Visite du Jardin de Dorren et Michel St-Pierre

Submitted by Denise

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Carol Van Vezler (July 3, 1939 – June 19, 2012)

by Laurie Goetting

Carol was born in Simcoe, Ontario to Dorothy and Dwight Van Vezler She worked as an EEG (Electroencephalography) technologist in many countries, including England, the United States and Canada. She retired from the Alberta Children’s Hospital in June 2002.
She travelled extensively to Europe, Africa and Asia. Carol was a tireless volunteer in her retirement years.  Although her main passion was the Sheltie Rescue Society where she found homes for many rescue dogs, she also loved her gardening. She always came to our Calgary CPS meetings despite the weather and sometimes with a few rescue dogs in tow! Carol could always be counted on to help with any of our projects, especially our hosting of the annual CPS show a few years ago.
She was able to share her time with the Calgary Horticultural Society, the CPS and the Lougheed House. Her beautiful garden won many awards. She had an outstanding collection of peonies and hostas. Despite Carol’s illness, she was still the courageous volunteer and showed up at the CPS booth and the Lougheed House booth at the Garden Show, April 2012.
A garden party was held at her home, the first week of July 2012, to remember this wonderful lady.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Oshawa peony festival sees 567 blooms vie for ribbon

Newcastle resident Helena Ho uses her nose to seek out the still-glorious blossoms at Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens on Sunday. The displays were at their best two weeks ago, thanks to an early spring, which festival organizers hadn't planned on.
Carola Vyhnak/For the toronto star
 Constance Spry was fading fast. Joseph Rock could hardly hold his weary head up. But Florence Nicholls, pretty in pale pink, was still fresh as a daisy.
“I’m just astounded,” marvelled Judi Denny on Sunday, looking over the tablefuls of blooms in Oshawa’s eighth annual peony festival. “Some are flagging, but I’m amazed they’ve hung in the way they have.”
Many named for people, the 567 blossoms vying for a ribbon had been chilling in family fridges for up to six weeks, thanks to the early spring. Refrigerating the cut stems before a show is normal, but “the weather has devastated the timing,” explained Denny, a festival organizer and peony enthusiast for more than 40 years. “If anyone jiggles the table, petals are going to fall off.”
The weekend event, billed as the largest of its kind in the country, drew visitors and participants from across the province to Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens, where 325 varieties of peonies show off their best stuff in May and early June.
According to Denny, the show judges look for the perfect bloom that’s symmetrical, appears “untouched by wind or rain,” is as soft as a tissue — but not too soft — and stands up straight on its stem.
A tall order, perhaps but “just dumb luck” snagged the title of grand champion for Ron Adams, whose “Coral Charm” bloom was still holding her head up proudly for shutterbugs in the hockey arena where the show was held.
“It’s a hit or miss affair,” said Adams, a Pickering retiree. “I had dozens in the fridge, but I threw most of them away. It was a mess. But one of them hit the jackpot.”
For Warkworth resident Tom Harris, who grows close to 200 varieties with his partner, Dennis Gebhardt, picking multiple prize-winning posies was strictly a guessing game.
“I have no control over what the bud will look like when it opens,” he said, explaining each one was wrapped in “perfect-size paper, the Toronto Star,” then tagged, bagged in plastic and laid out in the fridge weeks ago. “Dennis calls it our peony diet because there’s no room for food.”
A serious case of peonies envy brought Oshawa apartment dweller Nicole Petra to the gardens almost every night for weeks.
“I think of peonies like the ones in my mum’s garden. But there are so many colours, it’s amazing. And I found out there are over 5,000 varieties.”
Winning ribbons, which Peterborough resident Hazel Cook did in spades, is all about “luck and science and trying to figure out which day do I cut it.”
The hope, she said, is that blooms hit their moment of glory during the two-hour window when the judges come around. But the ordinary gardener has just as much chance as anyone else of cultivating “that one spectacular flower,” says Cook, who runs Blossom Hill Nursery with her husband, Joe.
Drought-resistant, low-maintenance and bug-free, peonies are a favourite perennial for folks like Helena Ho, who’s in the midst of landscaping after moving to Newcastle from Burlington.
“I love that one,” she said, burying her nose in an armful of fuchsia-coloured beauties. “It’s a very good pastime.”
Bowmanville resident Brian Kemp found himself at the festival with his family to celebrate Father’s Day and daughter Keira’s 16th birthday.
“I’m not anything horticultural,” he said, but used the opportunity to take pictures for his flower-fancying mother-in-law’s Facebook profile.

Courtesy of The Star

Oshawa Botanical Gardens 2012

What a fantastic event.  People visiting the show arrived early, before the doors opened and some tried to sneak in only to be asked to leave until we were ready.  It was an incredibly beautiful day.  Alas, the only thing wrong was mother nature not cooperating and many of the blooms were done in the garden.  The more than 560 blooms inside however was an impressive display with many being held over for 6 weeks in hopes to show here.  This made up for the lack of blooms outside.  Shutterbugs were eager to take photo's.

The top honour of GRAND CHAMPION went to Ronald Adams for his peony 'Coral Charm'

Best In Show Itoh Yellow Garden Treasure Thomas Harris

Best In Show Japanese Midnight Sun Thomas Harris
Best In Show Tree Peony Angelet Ronald Adams

Best In Show Single Pride of Blasdell Thomas Harris
Best In Show Double Walter Faxon Hazel Cook
 Visitors had many questions keeping our information both inside and outside hopping.  The silent auction went well.    Look for more photo's of entries on our Facebook page.

submitted by M Sequeira

Roger Van den Hende Botanical Garden - the largest show of cut flowers

by Rock Giguère
I am sending you a global view of the Quebec Society’s Peony Festival show which took place June 16 and 17th at the Roger Van den Hende Botanical Garden. It was the largest peony show to date in Canada with almost 1,200 cut flowers and many complimentary events. All this to say that the event was a great success.

First of all, I would like to thank the QPS President, an infatigueable and determined Dutchman, who coordinated the project to its end, like Gulliver, against all odds, relying on the competence of his fellow crew. Bravo. His wife, Lise, assisted him as always.

I convey other comments and thanks.

This event was the ongoing work of the entire Board – Yvon Allen, Rock Giguère, Lucie Pépin, Jacqueline Gervais, Claude Quirion, Serge Fafard et Robert Rioux who despite being sick wrote  almost every day to encourage other members of the Board in their work.

Our second round of thanks goes to our Quebec hybridizers, François-Léo Tremblay, Les Fleurs
Maltais and Serge Fafard who showed us their formidable talents.  We think that this is a turning point in our shows, because it demonstrate the competence and the specialization which is beginning in Quebec and the world of peonies.

We were delighted by their creations. To the people who were busy at the site, a thankless task, often
overlooked, but very important –Jacqueline Gervais and Christiane Lafrance, thank you for your
attention to the details.

A big thanks to the University of Laval authorities, especially to the Dean of the Faculty of Science for Agriculture and Food, Jean-Claude Dufour, who permitted us to use the university facilities and who gave much assistance to our Festival.

The site was perfectly suited to our Festival – the locale, parking, security, etc.

Special thanks should go to Hélène Corriveau, whose impeccable maintenance of the Botanical Garden and, most of the Peony Garden welcomed us in all of its glory. The collection benefited from the generous donation of peonies from Serge Fafard. Visitors had access to the garden both before and after the Festival.

To Pierre-Claude Poulin, President of the Friends of the Van den Hende  Botanical Garden, our gratitude for his personal assistance and that of the volunteers from the Society – our good friends Michel Bédard, Jacques Allard and Jean-Denis Brisson.

Thank you to Blaine Marchand and Mary Ann Robinson, members of the board of directors of The
Canadian Peony Society for their visit to Quebec. It was very appreciated.

The Festival was greatly assisted by our journalist friends who promoted the Festival: Larry Hodgson, Albert Mondor, Mélanie Grégroire, Claire Bélisle and Réjean Millette. Thanks also go to TVA, which allowed Rock Giguère to make a report on the show Salut Bonjour, Week-End on the event and on peonies.

And thanks to our friend Robert Petitclerc who opened his garden to peony lovers on Saturday, June
16th and to our beautiful Italian, Mano Capano, whose fields of production were open to the public for the occasion.

To Wim, the brother of our President, a special thanks for agreeing to be the designated driver of the President for all of the weekend. Wim also assisted us ably in several tasks.

                                                          QPS Peony Festival 2012
                                 ROGER VAN DEN HENDE BOTANICAL GARDENS
                                                                June 16-17 2012

                                                                 List of Winners
             FRAGRANCE                                                                JAPANESE
1st       YVON ALLEN       ARMISTICE            1st   ALINE GINGRAS                WAPTEN
2nd      LUCIE PÉPIN         ALÉSIA                   2nd  LUCIE PÉPIN                CHARLES BURGESS

             DOUBLE-BOMB                                                            QUÉBEC HYBRID
1st      MANO CAPANO    WHITE GRACE       1st     JARDINS OSIRIS                 TO BE NAMED
2nd     LUCIE PÉPIN         THE FAWN               2nd   JARDINS OSIRIS                  TO BE NAMED
3rd      LUCIE PÉPIN         ALÉSIA                    3rd    DOMINIQUE MALTAIS       TO BE NAMED

                 SIMPLE                                                                         SEMI-DOUBLE
1st      ALINE GINGRAS   FLAME                     1st   CLAUDE QUIRION              FIREBELLE
2nd     PIERRE ROY          ATHENA                   2nd   RENÉE PICHETTE (MBG) PINK               
3rd     JARDINS OSIRIS   MACKINAC GRAND                                                HAWAIIAN CORAL
                                                                                3rd   CLAUDE QUIRION      CHERRY RUFFLES

               TREE-PEONY                                                                             ITOH
2nd  PIERRE ROY             KO-ZAKURA            2nd   MICHEL BÉDARD       BARTZELLA
                                           DE MAXIME CORNU

                             WINNER IN ALL CATEGORIES AND OF THE TROPHY

                                        FIRST              LUCIE PÉPIN
                                        SECOND        JARDINS OSIRIS SERGE FAFARD
                                        THIRD CLAUDE QUIRION

                                TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES: 1187 PEONIES

 And finally, many, many thanks to those who contributed cut flowers – Serge Fafard, Mano Capano, François-Léo Tremblay, Les Fleurs Maltais, Renée Pichette of the Montreal Botanical Garden,
Yvon Allen, Claude Quirion, Pierre Roy and Lucie Pépin. Bravo to them for the prizes they won.
Without them, the successful exposition would not have been possible.
 And lastly, in case we may have forgotten some who contributed, our gratitude to each and everyone of you who contributed to the successful weekend. Onward we now go to the Peony Festival in Chicoutimi June 23 to July 2nd and to next year’s Festivals in Rosemère and Saint-Georges de
Beauce in 2013.

Ontario Region Peony Show - Seven Weeks of Bloom

By Judi Denny
While the peonies in the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden were well past their prime due to the early arrival of warmth in early spring, thanks to the ingenuity of the exhibitors, who made the effort to store blooms in refrigeration, the blooms on the show tables were absolutely fabulous. There were
574 peonies in bloom and all seven weeks of bloom were represented.
Yes, we even had a few tenufolias! Twinned with the Chinese Peony Festival held in the region, the show drew large numbers of enthusiastic viewers. Artisans and musicians in the garden kept festivalgoers entertained and speakers on topics of interest provided visitors with information on growing and displaying peonies. A fun Silent Auction raised dollars for the OVBG Peony Garden
and the sale of seeds and donations for peony blooms added funds to the Canadian Peony Society.
Of course, the weekend would not have been the success it was without the effort of the exhibitors
and volunteers. To the judges - Ken Brown, who also helped with set-up all Friday and ensured the
OVBG blooms were tagged and entered into the show, and Gordon Wick, our great appreciation.
A key task is definitely the show set-up, the clerking, and the clean up over the three-days. Special
thanks to Mary Ellen Simerson, my "right" hand in all the CPS stuff I do, including helping with our
garden over the last several years helping to dig, divide & send to display gardens, root sale and growing on the little pieces left over to eventually add to the future root sales. And thanks go to Tom Harris and Dennis Gerbhardt for their tireless and good-natured help, to Hazel Vincent, Gini Sage, Sandy Rackstrow, Elaine Davidson, who also staffed the CPS info table on Saturday and Sunday, Terry Kelsey who worked tirelessly all day Friday and Saturday.  Margaret Sequeira and her husband Brian were excellent clerks and clearly demonstrated expertise in handing out CPS information and
promoting the seed sale on Saturday.  Fond and affectionate gratitude to Val Hosty, who has contributed so much to the CPS over the years, and to her friend Irene who responded to visitors’ enquiries all day Saturday at CPS table in the Garden outside. Special thanks to Sharon W Yu, who
picked up and dropped off Val & Irene at the GO station and who brought buckets of peonies to sell
for a donation and still found time to work at the CPS Garden info booth.  The CPS web mistress,
Lana Taylor-Mills, attended her first peony show and did a great job with selling seeds and providing visitors with information about peony roots.
Yeoman service on the Silent Auction table was done by Janette Vallance, who also stayed to help
with ALL of the clean up, including folding all those tablecloths, and who kept us laughing.
Ron Adams and my dear Michael answered questions at the CPS table in the Garden all day Saturday and Sunday. And last, but not least, sincerest thanks go to Rose Mary Mason, Coordinator Events &
Ron Adams, Grand Champion peony 'Coral Charm'
Community Engagement with the Recreation &
Culture Services at the City of Oshawa. I've worked
with Rose Mary through all eight Festivals and without all her help and support this show would simply not happen.
For the full list of winners in the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden Peony show, please visit the CPS
Margaret and Brian Sequeira, Ken Brown

                                      CPS Ontario Region Peony Show 
                                                   June 16-17, 2012 
                          8th Annual Peony Festival, OVBG Oshawa, ON 

                                              COURT OF HONOUR 

BEST SINGLE Specimen:              Name of Exhibitor:      TOM HARRIS
                                                         For class #4:                 Peony SINGLE light Pink
                                                         Name of Cultivar:       “Pride of Blasdell”

BEST SEMI-DOUBLE Specimen: Name of Exhibitor:      RON ADAMS
                                                         For class #11B:            Peony SEMI-DOUBLE Coral 
                                                         Name of Cultivar:        “Coral Charm” 

BEST DOUBLE Specimen             Name of Exhibitor:       HAZEL COOK
                                                         For class #14A:             Peony DOUBLE light med. Pink
                                                         Name of Cultivar:         “Walter Faxon”

BEST Japanese Specimen:              Name of Exhibitor:       THOMAS HARRIS  
                                                         For class #19A              Peony Japanese dark Red
                                                         Name of Cultivar:         “Midnight Sun”

BEST Itoh Specimen:                      Name of Exhibitor:       THOMAS HARRIS
                                                         For class #23:                Peony Intersectional (Itoh)
                                                         Name of Cultivar:          “Garden Treasure”

BEST Tree Peony Specimen:          Name of Exhibitor:        RON ADAMS
                                                         For class # 30:                Display of three peony blooms
                                                         Name of Cultivar:         “Angelet”

GRAND CHAMPION:                 Name of Exhibitor:      RON ADAMS 
                                                         For:                               Best Semi-Double Specimen 
                                                         Name of Cultivar:        “Coral Charm” 

        TOTAL # OF ENTRIES: 508                                       TOTAL # OF BLOOMS: 574