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Plant of the Month

Fern Leaf Peony
Paeonia tenuifolia

Location: Grid X2 the furthest north plant in the new peony beds in the north east corner

The Fern Leaf Peonies are making the biggest showing of all the new Peonies planted in the north east corner. That is mostly because the plants were donated by a board member and we were able to dig big, husky divisions that have lots of reserves to use to get started.

Fern Leaf Peony Paeonia tenuifolia 4-20-15
Fern Leaf Peony Paeonia tenuifolia 4-20-15

That is especially nice, because for some reason Fern Leaf Peonies are often hard to find and almost always expensive. We will have a few nice potted plants for sale at the Associates Plant Sale in May.

Ants on peony buds 4-20-15
Ants on peony buds 4-20-15

If you look closely at this photo you can see ants on the flower bud. They are feeding on secretions of nectar on the unopened flowers. Some people believe that the ants are necessary for the flowers to open properly (when I was working in a retail nursery I would even have customers ask if they could buy the ants to go with the peonies) but, it has never been shown to have any effect on the opening. If you want to avoid ants coming in the house when you cut the flowers, the best solution is to cut the flowers before they open, then shake or rinse the buds before you bring them inside, then allow the flowers to open.

Monthly Projects

The amazing weather continues, although we have had a few frosty nights that nipped the magnolias a little bit, overall the weather has continued warm and mild. I think we are about three weeks ahead of ‘normal’ (if there is such a thing). I don’t remember ever seeing Lilacs and Crabapples in full bloom in April. There will be lots of them this year, and some may even finish in April.

Fortunately, I have had the luxury of student help with enough time to work quite a bit this spring, so we have been able to keep up pretty well so far.

Royal Gem Crabapple, 4-20-15
Royal Gem Crabapple, 4-20-15

Upcoming Events


Arboretum Associates Annual Plant Sale Saturday, May 30 2015 9:00 am to 12:00 pm Ice Rink at the Latah County Fairgrounds

Plant Sale List


Science Saturdays June 20, July 18, August 15 10:30 am at the Red Barn

This year the theme will be pollination, and each session will look at different aspects of pollination.


Arboretum Concert Monday, July 13 7:00 pm top of the upper pond

Acoustic concert put on by Dan Bukvich, the School of Music and community members. Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy an evening in the Arboretum

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