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Blooming Peonies

June 13, 2013

DSCN1412 My new obsession (it was hydrangea last year) are peonies.  Above is Paeonia officinalis ‘Rubra Plena’ which blooms in late spring in spectacular fashion. The large buds below burst into fluffy deep crimson balls and make a magnificent combination mingling with old roses and astrantia in mixed borders. DSCN1422 All peonies make great cut flowers with species available in primrose yellow, white and various shades of pink.  The scent is difficult to define and varies for each cultivar but is slightly spicy and quite similar to roses. I would suggest a trip to a garden centre or a specialist nursery to get the full impact of the flowers and scent when the plants are in bloom. If you’re choosing them for cut flowers and you have the room then a large bed made up of cultivars with a variety of  flowering times would be money well spent.


Naomi Schillinger who this year published her book Veg Street on community gardening would love the garden above and below.  I spotted it last year and today I met the owner who started growing vegetables five years ago after a subsidence repair and an insurance clause that disallowed any plants with roots deeper than 15 cm. It’s a front garden in full sun and measures about 3m by 4m and proximity to the house ensures regular watering and weeding. From picking to eating it could be less than five minutes with many of these healthy vegetables and salad crops. DSCN1420 Planted in a window box in a narrow space on the path to the front door are cucumbers fronted with rocket and red and green oak-leaf lettuce … DSCN1419 And the peas were doing fantastically well ( I wish I’d asked the secret since mine are half this size) … DSCN1418 But my onions are getting bigger by the day… DSCN1395-001 And the broad beans are free of blackfly… DSCN1394 and I am cropping lots of lettuce planted from a supermarket tray of living salad… DSCN1432 A neighbour picked six huge red poppies -Papaver orientale -from a bed where they thrive  in very dry conditions in full sun. She cut them into a bucket of water and seared the end over a flame on the stove and claimed they would last for four to five days in a vase. I shall buy a plant or two for the patch at the back of the house where I rarely to do much watering . DSCN1425-001

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2013 10:53 am

    I love my peonies and am working up my nerve to cut some to bring into the house. They seem quite short lived in the garden and I worry they won’t last long in the house either. Oh well, nothing lasts forever… I’m in awe of the veggie garden. We were too undecided and got a very late start. Travel and gardening seem to be at odds in this house.

    • June 14, 2013 12:29 pm

      Hi Shelley

      I am not sure how long they last in water-our local florist was selling them unopened for £1-40 a stem though.


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