Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Peony Love

Two years ago I discovered this lovely single peony in the midst of a rather mundane offering at Lowes.  Much as I love the petticoat ruffles of the 'bomb' type peonies, the singles seem more exotic.

I dug peony roots last spring planning to set them in a to-be-created perennial strip at the Bedford stone house which we were renovating at the time.
The peonies, along with a few other plants, spent the summer in large pots on the back patio.
The area where I thought to establish a garden wasn't practical as a maze of tree roots made digging nearly impossible.

This white one with its delicate greenish center surprised me--when--and where--did I acquire it?

Although the plant is young and was hastily stuck into the ground here in late October, it is flourishing.

This is definitely one from a bargin packaged root bought at  Wal Mart--slow to establish in its former setting, it is out-doing the others in terms of blossoms.

The blooms are small but ambitious.

When we bought the little place in Gradyville in March 2010, one of my first joyful discoveries was the presence of two vintage peonies which had spread to bushel basket size at the edge of what was to become our vegetable garden. Both were pink, one blooming earlier than the other.
I thought I had separated roots from each one--it may be that the peony planted next to this one--not likely to blossom this year--is the 'other' pink. Most likely one of the pinks is the old variety, 
Sarah Bernhardt.

This bud, opening unevenly, has a rakish look.

Iris roots in what will likely be a temporary spot.

I found four colorations of purple iris at the Gradyville home and had been dividing them each year. There was also a distinctive 'butterscotch' iris which I hoped would increase.
I snatched these roots from the ground on one of the last days packing there--seemingly I dug up only one color.
Several clumps haven't blossomed this spring--maybe I'll be happily surprised next year to see the coveted butterscotch blooms.

Yesterday, in a rare moment of sitting on the side porch I saw my first ruby-throated  hummingbird of the season, buzzing amongst the roses. Today I unearthed one of the nectar feeders and hung it out.

Sweet-scented, fragile petals.

A few plants purchased in April from a local nursery, became root-bound in their inadequate pots. 
With little time [and energy] to spare for clearing the remainder of the strip designated for perennials, I have moved most of the plants into larger pots, doing the same for those that I up-earthed from the interim garden at the stone house.

In this view you can see that the house and workshop are set very closely together, only the width of the drive between. The over-hang area of the house is typical of local Amish construction.  Anna Miller had a clothesline here to supplement the long pulley line which ran from her wash house to a tree on the other side of the brook.
The door from this back area leads directly into the finished basement room where we installed the washer and dryer.  If I choose to hang out towels and sheets there are only a few steps to carry the laundry basket.
Down the lane is what we refer to as the 'lower house'--the one currently claiming Jim's energies as he renovates it to "English" mode of living.

The above photos were all taken on Monday, before dark clouds ushered in a late afternoon rain.

There were several sharp showers overnight, and it was with fore-boding that I went out on Tuesday morning to view the peonies.

Nearly every year peonies at the height of their beauty have been muddied and flattened by a deluge.

These plants are somewhat sheltered by the overhang of the workshop roof. 
Also, the bushes are smaller, therefore less weighted down with rain.
The blossoms came through the rain unscathed.
The cool showers erased the humidity which had been with us for a week, bringing the sort of days that we wish could be typical of the entire summer season--bright, shimmering hours of sunshine without 'mugginess'--air washed clean, trees, grasses, wayside flowers, refreshed.

We made two trips on Tuesday for building supplies.
In the evening I hauled out stacks of curtain fabric, measuring, considering, picking out the hems on several sets of curtains made for windows in former houses.
My mind seethed with ideas, but today my time has been spent in baking and tending to laundry rather than sewing. 
Perhaps tomorrow I will create curtains.
Each day I will take photos of the peonies, their season is so brief and they are so flamboyantly beautiful.


  1. Replies
    1. Soraya; Thank you for leaving a comment--I found your blog and loved the photos.

  2. I love your peonies! They are all so gorgeous. Your rose is a sweet one too.

    How wonderful to be in your new home and enjoying spring.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I'm wondering if peonies thrive in your far south garden [?] I'm thinking they need a winter chill.

  3. Oh my! Now I can envy your peonies as well as your wood cookstove! Ha! Just never had any luck with peonies, even long abandoned ones wither under my care, but your pictures make me want to try again! That must be nice to have the clothesline so close to the laundry. Have a nice weekend!


    1. Jane; I've read that peonies need to be planted at a precise depth to flourish and bloom--not sue I believe that as I have plunked them into the ground with not much finesse and they have usually blossomed after the first year.

  4. Your peonies are beautiful, I've never tried growing them, perhaps I will give them a try. I envy you your iris, they simply will not flower here. They come up and do nothing.

    1. Janet; I wonder--are iris another flower that needs a winter chill? We are in zone 6 which doesn't do well with typically English garden plants such as delphinium or lady's mantle--iris and peonies are reliable here.

  5. The peonies look lovely and I am SO glad that they survived the rain storm. Mine are still at the leaf stage and there is one in a pot in the polytunnel which needs planting.

    The new house really does tick so many boxes doesn't it? What a handy laundry room and overhang.

    I am glad you have more plants to go in and will have a beautiful plot again, in memory of the one you had to leave behind which got squished . . .

    1. Jennie; As I write, we've had more rain and the peonies look a bit bowed down--but the moisture was badly needed.
      Yes, this place does suit in so many ways--very stony soil, but that's the only drawback we've thus far noted. It will take a few seasons to have a lovely plot of flowers again--and it will be quite different from the other--but that's part of moving, and I will adjust.

  6. Love the peonies. You're heading into such a beautiful season in such a beautiful part of the country.

    1. Lillian; As you know, this is a beautiful month in Kentucky--before the heat and humidity begin to overwhelm us in June. We cherish the days.