Oh Praiseworthy Peony – The Finest of all Garden Flowers

Hands down, the peony is my all-time favorite flower. I used to say that I could not pick a favorite, and there are several flowers that I really love, but the Peony is definitely my favorite and is, in this humble writer’s opinion, the finest of all garden flowers.

The Praiseworthy Peony

Ioth Peony ~ gardenmatter.com

Here’s why:

It’s beautiful.It’s been around for thousands of years. Peonies are highly fragrant, with very large flowers making for a fabulous cut flower. Once established, they grow effortlessly, coming back to the garden year after year. Okay, the flowers don’t last all summer, and after they bloom, a nice rainstorm can knock them over. Still, a little staking and early cutting can take care of both of these problems.

Peony Bouquet

Did you know that peonies can last in full bloom for up to ten days in a vase?  Pick them in the bud stage, wrap all but the ends of the stem in plastic, and place them in the refrigerator. They will keep for a month.

Peonies are one of the oldest garden flowers in history and have been cultivated in China for over 4,000 years.  Native to Asia, they were first prized for their medicinal value. There are several different stories about how the peony got its name. They all seem to center around a physician named Paeon who helped the gods with the use of many plants including the peony.

Types of Peonies

Sarah Bernhardt ~ Herbaceous Peony ~ gardenmatter.com

 

Herbaceous Peony

Herbaceous peonies are the most common. They are the ones your grandmother probably had in her garden. Most of my peonies are herbaceous peonies. They die back to the ground every year, come up in the spring time, and usually flower from May through mid-June.

Fuchsia Tree Peony ~gardenmatter.com

 

Tree Peony

The tree peony is more of a shrub than a tree.  It grows about four to five feet tall and has very large blooms. This one is the first to bloom in my garden, but the blooms only last about two weeks.

ITOH Peony ~gardenmatter.com

Itoh – Intersectional

The Itoh or Intersectional peony is relatively new.  It’s a hybrid between the herbaceous peony and the tree peony. The result is a plant that is sturdy, with large blooms for about a month, and one that dies back to the ground each year.

Peonies and Ants

Ants love the nectar on peonies

If you love cut peonies but are worried about bringing ants into your home, read this.

Ants are attracted to peonies for their nectar. They do not hurt the plant but they will protect it from other bud-eating insects. If you are worried about bringing ants into your home, you can try one of two methods. Cut the flowers when they are still in bud form but with the color showing, at the marshmallow (soft) stage. This way you can spray or wipe off the ants easily. Secondly, if they are already in full bloom, you can prepare a bowl of water with a tiny bit of dish soap. Gently hold the flower by the stem and swish it in the water to knock off any ants.

Peony Chit-Chat

One more note. They really hate to be divided, but if you must, do so in early fall. Make sure there are a couple of good eyes to each section you divide and don’t plant too deep – just enough to keep the eyes slightly visible.

One online source that has a large number of peonies is Klem’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery

 

Learn some basic fact about the beautiful and fragrant peony, including their history, types and why everyone should have them in their garden.

 

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Garden Matter, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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Comments

  1. Stopping by from SITS. I love peonies too. I’ve been meaning to start a flower garden. I’ve always wanted one, but I grew up in the city and didn’t have any grass or backyard, but now that I live in the burbs I have plenty of backyard space and don’t know what to do with it!

    • It’s really pretty easy. I’m not an expert but have been growing flowers for a long time. You’ll find what works for you. Let me know if I can be of any help. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Interesting! I couldn’t grow anything to save my life but I love enjoying things other people grow.

    • Rhiana,
      Thanks for stopping by. Come back again to enjoy a virtual garden and if you want to know any tips for easy casual gardening. I’ll let you in on a secret. Everyone loses plants. I lost quite a few from the bad winter and I seem to lose a couple every year. Does that stop me, no. So maybe you are someone who has “killed” a plant in the past and thinks they can’t grow anything but I’m sure you could. So glad you visited.
      Patti

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