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Meet: Dominic Wong

Q: What was your original inspiration?

A: My inspiration came from my China-born mother, who showed me peony motifs on every day household objects, like bowls, plates, and clothing. I was born in tropical Malaysia and did not see live peonies in that climate. So, when I immigrated to Australia, I had the chance to grow peonies in memory of my late mother.
 
Q: What are your top three peonies?
 
A:
  • Tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa), especially Japanese bred varieties that hold their heads upright, and into your face.
  • Itoh peonies (Paeonia hybrid), a cross between Tree and Herbaceous peonies. These are vigorous, quick to establish and can carry up 30-40 blooms.
  • Coral peonies (Paeonia lactiflora x peregrina), including ‘Coral Charm’, Coral Sunset, and Pink Hawaiian Coral. These are vigorous herbaceous peonies that originate from a warm climate, so unlike most herbaceous peonies, they don’t need chill to flower.
 
Q3.  What are the misconceptions about growing peonies?
 
Many gardeners think peonies are delicate and can't stand the heat, and so they plant them in the shade, where they never flower. But peonies need sun – the more sun, the more flowers. Morning sun is best with a couple hours of sunshine and afternoon shade for long-lasting blooms. They’re also very drought tolerant once established and need to be fed well and often. Rose fertiliser, blood and bone plus potash at least three times a year, except summer when they go dormant.   
 
Closer
Dominic sells potted peonies all year round. Sales and pick up are conducted from his nursery in the Southern Highlands, NSW. For more information, call 0411 783 883 or email peonyman.23@gmail.com 

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About this article

Author: Interview: Sandra Ross