A lot has been done on the site, but it’s a never ending task. The latest thing we’ve tried to do is some further integration with social media. With over 2 billion users on them they are hard to ignore. The Facebook page has been present for quite a long time and when appropriate some news items are posted there. That should make it easy for occasional visitors to this site to follow what’s going on. They can simply click ‘follow’ and any updates will appear in their daily stream.

Lately it appears that Facebook has been losing users to its daughter social media app Instagram. Most will know it, but for those who don’t: it’s foremost a mobile app to share images. You can also visit it on the web, but with less functionality. As an image sharing tool it’s much nicer compared to Facebook imho. If you’re using it, you can now also share your peony images with this site simply by using the hashtag #thepeonysociety and the images will appear (with a short delay) here. It also works on Twitter, although there you are without the possibility of adding a longer description to it. If enough images are posted with that hashtag, we may give them their own section on this site, but I guess that’s something for May/June/July when they are in bloom. However, you’re free to try it out with some images you may already have from previous seasons.

On most pages it’s now possible to translate the content to the language you speak yourself. If that’s English, it might still come in handy as many of the news posts are in other languages (Russian, French, German, Japanese, Chinese…) and if you set it to English, those will be translated as well. Apparently it makes it possible to write in other languages as well now, as we have our first Russian post about favorite white peonies. Try it out 😉

The road map for this site: we’d like to include a kind of directory with peony nurseries, gardens, societies and websites. With locations, reviews and the possibility for members to comment on them or add their own. That would replace the few lists of peony nurseries in the menu, they are incomplete and b(i)ased on the ones I know (and I don’t know too much). It may take quite a while. The last somewhat larger work on the site was the ‘Paeonia newsletter’ and that took about four times longer than expected, thus I don’t like to give a date for it, but I do hope to add it before the next peony flowering season.

As a aside, the site has been offered to The American Peony Society to take over completely. It is being discussed, I don’t know what the outcome will be. They intend do update their own website and I thought it might be a good idea if they simply took over this one. They are the largest peony society as far as I’m aware and it would ensure the survival of this site in the long term, I wouldn’t want this to end up as so many other great peony sites. They already have much content from the Bulletins that could easily be published online and of course they are the international registrar for new peony varieties. If you feel this is a good idea (or a bad one), please be vocal about it (here or with the APS themselves) 🙂

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    • #22262

      If you’d like to comment on this article, please do so below, your replies will be available both in the forum and under the article itself.
      [Read the full article: Site changes and roadmap]

    • #22271

      Это хорошая идея сайта и он хорошо просматривается на самых разных носителях. Пользоваться удобно. У меня есть одно небольшое предложение по фото к описанию сортов. Было бы хорошо если фото точно соответствует тексту описания. Это особенно важно по белым сортам, потому что очень похожих сортов довольно много и важен каждый нюанс

    • #22272

      Thank you. About the images in the cultivar database, there are only a few ones present now which I took myself mostly. It’s possible for site visitors to upload images along with the comments about the cultivars. The cultivar database does have room for improvement (there are only just over 1,100 varieties in it, it could use multiple image uploads, more image formats, better search options and so on), but for now I’m lacking the technical prowess to be able to change it much further and I personally don’t consider it a priority as there are two other large peony databases on the web available that in fact offer the possibility to be merged into one super-database (but a marriage takes two…)

      Taking images that correspond exactly to the specification of the cultivar registration is very difficult. Mainly for two reasons.

      1. Many white peony flowers change color during blooming time, usually from some pink shade towards white. That is also the case for many other colors as well (just take at look at the video of Coral Sunset changing color). When it’s sunny and hot this tends to happen faster, or when it’s cold the pink may appear much darker and last longer. So the flower on any single day may look completely different, you would need a picture of the flower nearly every day.
      2. The light/sun conditions can make the flower color look completely different. It’s very difficult to make a good image of a peony, most of all a white one, when there’s a lot of sun. You would need a clear but still slightly cloudy day without any direct sunlight to take a good picture.

      The American Peony Society has its own database of peonies, 4,000-5,000 of them with currently over a 1,000 varieties with an image added to them. http://americanpeonysociety.org/cultivar-registration/peony-cultivars All registered cultivars are there and a few older ones that were added without registration long ago. What is missing are more recent cultivars that have not been registered (many European ones) and most Chinese/Japanese cultivars. You can easily search the database by date, cultivar name, breeder and so on.

      Carsten Burkhardt’s website http://www.paeon.de also has a database of peonies, with far more varieties, including those that were never registered. It also includes many descriptions from books and other websites, sometimes even in other languages. Next to that there are lots of images, not to mention the other very interesting sections of the website (breeders, the works of AP Saunders, a literature overview with many links and so on). It would be the perfect informative peony site but, alas, it hasn’t been updated in almost a decade and I don’t expect this to change anymore. The fact that it hasn’t received any updates is one of the main reasons I’ve created this site http://www.peonysociety.eu . There would be no challenging Carsten’s website when it comes to the amount of information present, but everything becomes outdated when nothing new is added. I’ve tried to contact him a few times to merge his site into this one, but I’ve never been able to reach him. Perhaps I should try again.

      Thank you for your comments.

    • #22279

      Я все понимаю что это трудная задача и адреса баз данных давно нам знакомы. В базе описание краткое и каждое слово имеет большое значение. Оно не всегда понятно для людей привыкших думать на другом языке. Второй момент. Я заметил что в базе текст описания и фото не дополняют друг друга. Это не для всех. Просто один конкретный пример. По изменениям цвета в зависимости от времени и погоды нам известно. Но если в тексте что-то упоминается важное в описании сорта: цвет, форма или что-то еще, то детальное отражение на фото поможет людям понять правильно смысл написанного. Я не открою секрета что путаница с сортами сохраняется до сих пор, каждый понимает смысл текста по своему. Да это трудная и большая задача

    • #22495

      I have been posting photos on facebook, group planet peony. Will these get posted here if i use #thepeonysociety?

      if so, where are they posted?

    • #22500

      No, they won’t. The problem there is that Facebook doesn’t allow other websites to extract posts from groups, only public pages can be used (and #hashtags not at all). Thus the public pages of several peony societies and peony nurseries are placed together on this site on the homepage under their own section, which gives a clear overview I think. But those societies that use ‘groups’ instead of pages (for example: the Swedish Peony Society) are not available. That also encompasses very popular groups like planet peony (that want to reach as many people as possible), and smaller more specialized peony species groups (that probably want to keep their discussions to themselves anyway).

      It works however on Instagram (and Twitter), be it a business account or a personal account. All one has to do is use the hashtag #thepeonysociety when posting a peony image and when our server looks for updates on instagram it will collect the posts with it, after which they will appear here. Currently they will simply appear under the ‘peonies on social media’ section on the homepage. If peony season is amongst us, or if people start posting some peony images they already have, I can easily create another section on the homepage where they will automatically appear then, maybe I should already do that. Most posts in the section ‘peonies on social media’ are moderated for different reasons and are somewhat delayed until I can look at them, but posts with that hashtag #thepeonysociety are added automatically without moderation.

      If you want to post your images in the group planet peony, you could also first post them on Instagram (with #thepeonysociety added) and then simply share them on facebook planet peony, which is what we also did with our trial image post on Instagram. Instagram was created to share images, so it works well this way. If you do it that way, they can be viewed on Instagram, Facebook and here.

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