Peonies still take my breath away every spring! Despite their sweet and delicate appearance, peonies are one of the hardiest perennials you can grow.
They don’t have a huge amount of rules for success, just give them plenty of sun, well drained soil, and a bit of organic fertilizer and they’ll reward you with blooms for years. In fact they are one of the longest lived perennials, living for decades!
Peonies are outrageously beautiful in bloom, with lush, dark-green foliage all summer long. In the fall the foliage turns a bronzy-purple before completely dying back to the ground. It makes for easy clean-up and you gotta love that!
I tend to re-arrange our yard like some people re-arrange furniture. Most perennial books will tell you that they don’t like to be moved, but I have moved some of ours more than once and they didn’t seem to miss a beat.
“So what’s up with the ants?”, you say. Well peonies and ants just go hand in hand. There’s an urban myth that says the flowers need the ants to help open the blooms, but it’s just not true. Ants are drawn to the sticky, sweet stuff that the buds give off before they open.
The ants don’t hurt anything and tend to disappear as the buds open. So when cutting peony flowers just make sure and give them a good shake before bringing them into the house. They make the most exquisite bouquets!
We just started delivering #1 gallon size Peonies to the local nurseries. Here’s a list of the varieties we’ve grown for 2014.
Double red, bowl-shaped flowers have a lavender touch and are held on top of red mottled stems. Wonderfully fragrant, blooming around Memorial Day. Grows to 3′ tall.
Bowl of Beauty
Famous for its huge, hot pink outer petals and contrasting frilly yellow centers. One of the most strikingly beautiful Japanese peonies. Strong stems hold well in the rain. Introduced around 1940. Early spring blooming. Grows 2-3′ tall.
Duchess de Nemours
Introduced in 1856,this fragrant double remains a standard by which all other white Peonies are judged. Strong stems support huge, double, 5 inch, creamy-white flower that have a tint of yellow at their base. It is a late season bloomer & grows to 2 1/2′ tall.
The big and beautiful 5 to 7 inch blooms have lavender- pink outer petals with a lighter pink center. They have a wonderful sweet scent that you can enjoy in your garden or as a cut flower. The plants can reach 3 feet in height. Introduced in 1884.
Show stopping carmine-red petals with a silvery sheen to them are generously produced. This is a fragrant, double variety that blooms mid-season. One of the best red varieties. Grows 2-3′ tall. Introduced in 1905.
Introduced in 1908, Karl Rosenfeld has become the most popular red peony for cut flower production. It sports stunning double fuchsia-red flowers that are an enormous 8 inches across! Great cut flower. Grows to 3′ tall.
Introduced in 1906 & named after the famous French actress, Sarah Bernhardt is sure to be a star in your flowerbed! It’s double blooms are a light seashell pink. Plants grow to 3′ tall and have a light scent.
I am particularly fond of this old fashioned favorite and am reminded each spring of the fabulous bouquet of these beauties that my sister Carly carried in her wedding. Her bouquet of peonies was stunning, not unlike her! They also dry wonderfully!