Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Peony Flower

Red single Peony on Forsythia Hill
Is the Peony the perfect flower? It is very difficult for a plant lover to narrow the list down to just one Species but when thinking about how much delight a Peony blossom brings and weighing it against the others, it just might come out narrowly ahead. The top competitors in my garden are perennial Iris, Daffodil, Hibiscus, Lily, Daylily, Rose, Dianthus, and Primrose.
Pale Pink Tree Peony, 50 + yrs old in Ted's Cville Garden

Peonies are long lived, being recorded to live in flower beds for centuries. This Peony Garden article published by China Daily talks about plants over 100 years old and one 170 years old!

Top competitor, My Grandmothers Primrose, 50 + yrs old

Also long lived are Daffodils, Primrose, and Iris. I have some that my Grandmother planted 50+ years ago. I LOVE Dianthus and at one time collected it but they don't make it from year to year in my garden. Store away a little seed each year, from non-hybrids, to ensure you have a backup plan if they peter out.

Climbing Rose, Seven Sisters, on my trellis on Forsythia Hill

Roses are breathtaking and I have several, but once again, it all depends on the type of Rose as to its longevity. I tend to go for Climbers, Grandiflora, or Rugosa as for me they are easy to grow and require only pruning to keep alive and happy. Generally, if it does not have a glorious scent then I am not interested.

Faithful perennial Hibiscus, stunning in its own right
Daffodils are by far my favorite Spring bloomer and I collect them as well but most don't have the color variety or size like the Peony to make you GASP. Perennial Hibiscus is also a knock out plant that lives many years in the garden but it doesn't have the layers of petals like the Peony. Lilies and Daylilies come in all sorts of varieties and seem to last a very long time as well but I go back to the massive pillowy layers of petals in the Peony that brings out romance and reminds me of the finest of old fashioned floral arrangements.

This Double Peony head is heavy and will kiss the ground
My only complaint about the Peony is that often the big doubles get so top heavy they sink to the ground when it rains. To assist, I shake mine off and fluff them up. Also planting a few other clumps of Summer blooming sturdy plants in front of them helps to prop them up. That is one reason I lean toward the single Peony. It has less weight and is more upright. In my collection I have a Red and a single Pink that was my Grandmothers, planted at least 60 years ago and in appearance to the original Peony that all were bred from.

I don't have any Tree Peonies because they are so ungodly expensive but hopefully one day someone will want to share!

Glorious Single Hot Pink Peony on Forsythia Hill
After the Peony bloom dies, you can cut off just the bloom and leave the foliage (never cut this down because like Daffodils it provides needed energy for next years blooms) until it withers away. The leaves are actually very pretty as well and can provide a nice backdrop for small Summer bloomers.

What can outshine a faithful plant that returns each year, blooms its head off, and provides such delight. I would love to know!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Rebbeca!

    I love your article about peony flower! I'm sure a lot of people will be very pleased after reading this and likewise to the same topic I wrote in my Blog.
    But also, I write articles on different kinds of flowers from the pictures I take and share them to my readers.
    I hope to read more from your future posts and maybe you can also drop by my blog! Take care always and God bless!


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