The Charming Peony – My Favorite Spring Flower

Cottage Garden Seasonal Spring, Cottage Gardening

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the Peony

The Charming Peony – My Favorite Spring Flower

I call them The Duchess of the Garden. In my mind, my garden actually ‘holds court’. The roses are the Queens of my garden. The Iris are the Ladies in Waiting. The Pansies and the Columbines are the Pages…The Charming Peony, the Duchess of the Gardens are graceful, frilly and only around for a few short days. Their presence in the garden are so worth the wait!

spring garden flowers in gathering basketGathering my Spring flowers…

Early morning is best. The soft hours of the morning are the best time to pick your flowers – all flowers. I love this very large gathering basket that I can beautifully fill with the gorgeous colors of Spring in my garden. The roses and the Iris will be here for a while…but, my precious Peonies – only a short 10-ish days! Do you plant and love Peonies?

The Peony Plant

The Peony

I first became aware of the beautiful Peony years ago when we lived up North in Ohio. When Spring finally came around, I drove by a home with a long perennial hedge…there were these giant, gorgeous blooms topping the shrubs…my first glimpse of white Peonies! I was immediately smitten!

Peonies in the garden

The Peony in the South

As with Many perennials, there are some that thrive when experiencing the chilly winter temperatures. This is true for the Peony. They can, however, if planted correctly flourish for a very long time in the South. I have read that Peonies call live up to 50 years!

pink Peonies

Peonies in Floral Arrangements

pink Peony in silver pitcherI love adding Peonies to Spring bouquets…but, I think I love Peonies all no their own. Their grand size, their ruffled petals are just too perfect to be surrounded too often by others. They sometimes need to be displayed on their own. I love the contrast here of the turquoise blue trays, the tarnished silver pitcher and this gorgeous, large Peony.

Peony varietiesThe Many Colors and Varieties of Peonies

You can create such a gorgeous display with these wonderful Perennials. They come in so many different colors and growing habits. I’ve read, but haven’t seen in person that the shrub Peony has been combined with the Tree Peony to result in what is called the, ‘Intersectionals’.  I’m going to have to look for these!


The Sweetness of Peonies and Ants

There’s a sugary substance that exudes from the Peony when their in bud and beginning to open. The ants love it. Don’t try to get rid of them. They do not harm the Peony. Some think they actually may help the Peony to open up!

Pink Peonies on the shrub


Some Peonies have a beautiful light fragrance. Some have a more pronounced fragrance that becomes apparent after being cut! Isn’t that wonderful! The fragrance can also depend upon the time of the day and the temperature! I think it is worth exploring more…don’t you!

deep pink Peony with white center

Tips on Growing Peonies in Your Cottage Garden

  • How and When to Plant: The best time for planting peonies is between October and March. The most important thing to consider is how deep you plant them. If you plant them too deep and they will not to flower. Peonies need to be planted with the eyes (the budding stems) just beneath the surface of the soil.
  • Growing Conditions: Peonies need plenty of water in well-draining soil (not soggy conditions); sun exposure – they love the sun, but will tolerate light shade.
  • Peonies may take up to 3 years to flower – they require attention and patience – that is rewarding and well worth it!
  • Peonies live long and can be divided or transplanted: The most important thing to remember is to divide or transfer when the plant is dormant – that is when the optimum time to planting occurs – October – March.
  • Remember – don’t worry about the Ants!
  • For Arrangements – remember to get enough blooms – you may need to wait about three years, but one single bloom can make a gorgeous arrangement

white Peony

Best Varieties that You can Try:

Some recommend that the best Peonies you can start with in your garden are the,  ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’, pure white ‘Festiva Maxima’ and the famous ‘Sarah Bernhardt’. There are so very many out there…it will all depend upon your color choice – how full you like the blooms and what type you like. I’ve read that of the new Intersectional varieties the Bartzella and the Julia Rose are lovely!


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