Peony splendor

Hello! This week I found myself sorting through pictures that I’ve taken over the past couple of months. I take a lot of pictures, and I don’t usually sit down and go through them right away. So it is really nice when I am able to see the different aspects of the garden, and the different phases of the flowers through the memory of my lens.

When we first moved into our home ten years ago the yard was full of gardening possibilities – a blank slate, really. We had some lavender plants at the back of the house and that was it. Slowly, ever so slowly, I created bed after bed, all organically (I have this thing about chemicals). Were they all thought out and planned meticulously? The short answer is ‘no’! I confess that there were plants that I wanted to have and I threw them in beds as soon as I could, and Peonies were top of the list! Over time, I’ll get everything in the right place. In the meantime, I’ll keep on enjoying things where they are. 🙂

I have several Peony plants. The blooming starts around the second week of May for my early bloomers and will go well into June for the last of my plants. Not a bad season when you can stretch it that long! The first to bloom is an old fashioned redish colored plant which my Father-in-law gave me years ago (name unknown).

Peony red
The first Peony to bloom at the beginning of May
red peony and bluebells closeup
Red Peony with Bluebells

The red Peonies went into the only bed I had at the time, at our front gate. I’ve since divided them and they are now on both sides of our front gate.

Paeonia 'Hillary'
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

The next Peony to bloom was the Paeonia ‘Hillary’ which is an ‘Itoh’. Itohs are hybrids between garden and tree peonies. I bought this last year and it was full of blooms early on this season, but between gale force winds and other mishaps, only two buds were left when it was time to bloom. The weather was not cooperating at this stage, either, so I don’t think we’ve seen its best year yet. You can see how dry the soil is in some of the pictures.

Peony Hillary
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

I’m happy with this location for my ‘Hillary’ and I think it should do well here – apart from when we have gale force winds. The soil conditions are really good, and it is in full sun. The plant is an unusual color, a very soft redish-pink, and I think it suits this bed.

Peony Hillary + allium
Paeonia ‘Hillary’ blooming with the Allium
Peony Hillary
Paeonia ‘Hillary’
Peony Hillary side view
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

As the ‘Hillary’ faded, the next two plants started to bloom. These two are planted at the back of our house and get morning sun and some afternoon sun. The soil where they are growing is not good! But it has good drainage and I’ve started to give it more attention with compost. Again with these plants, it was the case of wanting to put them somewhere! They aren’t doing too poorly, thankfully.

peony-white-first-single
The first bloom is a full week ahead of the rest of the plant. White and pink Peony.
Peony white and pink + fennel
The white and pink Peony is planted next to a Fennel plant.
Peony white and chicken house
The Peony plant is on one side of our driveway while our chickens are on the other side.
Hosta and Peony view
Here’s a view from our back door. On the other side of the wall (and the Hostas) is the white and pink Peony.
Peony White and Pink pink flower
White and pink Peony.

I have this white and pink Peony supported. I like this support because I can put it in place any time (a lot of supports should be put in place before the plant is fully grown). Most Peony flowers are large and heavy and tend to droop if not supported.

Peony white and pink outside bouquet
This display is like having a bouquet of Peony in the yard!

Just two Fennel plants down from the white and pink Peony, and flowering at the same time, is Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’. The color reminds me of bubble gum. 🙂 On the other side of the Paeonia is lavender, while on the deck there are geraniums and my rain catcher / water butt.

Paeonia Bowl of Beauty lavender view
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’ next to lavender
Paeonia Bowl of Beauty closed
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia Bowl of Beauty upclose
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty'
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty'
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’

There is a bit of an overlap with the next two Peony plants. The white and pink Peony and the ‘Bowl of Beauty’ are not yet finished, as the next two are starting to bloom. I’ll start with Paeonia ‘Kansas’ as it has two flowers in bloom. The location is at my ditch wall garden, which I’ve decided should be more wild flowers – so I don’t think it is ideal for this pretty Peony. The color is amazing – a beautiful deep magenta.

Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’ among Foxgloves
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’
Paeonia 'Kansas' with Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Paeonia ‘Kansas’ with Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’

The last of my Peony plants to bloom are my ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ plants. I have two, and one is still only buds, while the other has one fully open flower with a few others starting to open. The one in flower is in my Rainbow garden and is happy – and I am happy where it is. The ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ Peony is pink – as in cotton candy pink! I love the stand out color.

Peony Sarah Bernhardt
Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’
Sarah Bernhardt Peony
Paeonia ‘Sarah Bernhardt’

We had very little rain this spring. Thankfully, the rains have returned, somewhat, this past week, which has been a welcome relief to my garden.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I’ve planted a few more Peony plants this year, so we’ll all have those to look forward to next year!

In Peace,
Dana