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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the year ending July 1, 1921
Vol. LI (1921)

Brand, A. M.
The modern peony,   pp. 107-122 PDF (3.9 MB)

Page 120

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while other stocks are free from the disease or practically so.
This disease is really the only peony disease that is at all serious.
Another matter I wish to touch on hastily is the use of fer-
tilizers. Most people have an idea that the peony is a heavy
feeder and, knowing that decomposed barnyard manure is a
splendid fertilizer, use great quantities of it about their peony
roots every year. Manure is all right, in its way, and to get a
continuation of good bloom year after year from the same plants
more or less of it must be used. But people in their enthusiastic
search after thez beautiful blooms, as a rule, overdo the thing.
Instead of not using enough fertilizer, they use too much. Too
much manure causes an overgrowth of foliage, a weakening of
the stems, and causes decay in the crowns of established plants
and, I believe, is one of the factors that tends to bring about
conditions favorable for the development of the disease, botritis,
in the plants. Any good ordinary soil will produce good peonies
with a good application of manure about once in three years.
Finally, I wish to say a few words on the making of collections
of peonies. Now we have all kinds of collectors in this world.
We have the collector of cancelled postage stamps, the collector
of old coins, the collector of beautiful pieces of china, etc., etc.,
and so on without end. And we also have the collector of peonies.
Now, the making of a collection of peonies is a fine thing, so
long as it is carried out along the right lines. The collector of
cancelled postage stamps adds to his collection every different
stamp he can possibly beg, buy, or steal. It doesn't make any
difference whether it is a pretty stamp or not. The question of
looks has nothing to do with it. But it is different with peonies.
What the collector of peonies should be after is beauty, and
beauty only. We have in. the world at the present time about
250 very fine varieties of peonies. When the collector, if his
means will allow of buying them all, has exhausted this list of
good ones, he should stop, carefully adding to his list the good
new ones as they come out.
Why, some people have what is called the "Peony Bug" so
badly that they lose sight of the idea of beauty entirely in making
their collections and make their lists up by purchasing every
variety they can buy of a certain originator's, whether the flower
is good or not.
Others make up their collection laying stress on pretty names,
the element of beauty not entering into the transaction at all.

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