Invariably, when I ask friends their favorite flower, whether they are gardeners or not, the answer is always peonies. And, yesterday at a small lunch party, my male friend on my right opined that they were his faves as well. Then he proceeded to chat about where and why he was adding peony beds to their property.
Well, speaking of peony beds, last year we moved our cutting garden collection to its own plot of land in the back courtyard (gardeners never tire of creating more gardens). And we have room to grow!
Why are so many of us besotted with this flower that only blooms for about two weeks (and only lasts for 2 1/2 days when cut)? I’ve just come to accept that during those short two weeks, I will put other things aside and devote my time to “the ritual”–from gathering them in the early morning, when there is still dew on their petals, to selecting just the right vase for your mood, and then cutting their healthy stems to cluster them in a tight collection, all cozy together. They look like such happy flowers, without a care in the world. Below are a few from our collection.
My English trug is almost falling apart, I overuse it so much during this season. At times, the Parterre Bench’s generous seat serves as a staging area for sorting and organizing before I choose my containers for the inevitable arrangements. And white is the perfect backdrop for this little task (did you know that the Parterre Bench is available in any color of your choosing…including the many shades of peonies).
This seemed just the occasion to share this practical garden tool. It’s officially called a “compost scoop”, and tidies up the process of moving dirt around (I christened it on my new peony bed). “Scoop your dirt with the best of them,” as they say. It’s from Sophie Conran in London. Thanks, Ellen.
Having mentioned peony arrangements, I couldn’t resist showing this to you…’Abalone Pearl’ has the distinct characteristic of changing over her short bloom period from corally orange to apricot to soft shell pink to, finally, parchment beige. Scrumptious!
‘Madame Emile Debaten’ is spotted around the house in small containers so that she can provide a pop of color to table vignettes.
That adored peony, ‘Coral Charm’, always receives special attention at Parterre…this year lending herself to a carefree, lyrical arrangement in an antique mirrored container.
Peonies come in such a riot of colors in the pinks and oranges that I couldn’t help thinking of my friend, artist Hunt Slonem and his paintings. Aren’t his signature bunnies a fun backdrop for this floral collection? Compliments to my talented art dealer friend, Jessica Hagen.
Enjoy your peonies…what are your favorite varieties?