Until I got home on Monday, peonies had been growing on me. Not literally, but over the last couple of years my enthusiasm for peonies had been slowly increasing. ,
Initially, that level of enthusiasm was quite low. In fact, it was only the steady barrage of wistful sighs from Judy that persuaded me to plant any peonies at all. My reluctance came from the fact that individual peony blooms are so short lived and vulnerable to rain, wind, and people walking by without first removing their shoes.
Also, peonies have limited value to wildlife, so their place in a habitat garden is open to question. Although ants do like to eat the nectar that can be found on Peony buds and actually help the Peony flower to open.
Even so, four years ago I planted four peonies, all singles: ‘America’, P. anomala, ‘Abalone Pearl’, and another one whose name I’ve lost. These plants charmed me as they expanded and bloomed each season. The opening of each luxurious flower became a much anticipated event.
I was also inspired by the interplanting of Peonies and Alliums at the Chicago Botanic Garden, to the point where last year I ordered three ‘Snow Swan’ Peonies to plant among my own ‘Purple Sensation’ Alliums.
And at the recently concluded Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto it was impossible not to stare goggle-eyed at all the gigantic and glorious Peonies. Surely those Canadians are engaging in some kind of Satanic magic in order to grow all those impossibly beautiful specimens.
Anyhow, imagine my dismay when I returned home from Toronto on Monday only to find that the flowers on both ‘Snow Swan’ and the nameless Peony had come and gone during the five days trip. This was probably the result of a major thunderstorm on Monday, which provides absolutely no comfort at all.
It must be admitted that Peony ‘America’ did very well this year. It had more large, single red blooms than ever before. What’s more, it has a second round of buds that should be opening in a week or so. And all this despite that fact that it gets more shade and root competition than is ideal.
So I won’t be digging up the Peonies I already have, but I won’t be planting any more for the foreseeable future.
How did the Peonies in your garden do this year?