Welcome to ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join her challenge to fill a vase for the house from the garden every week.
This week I am making the most of my Cutting Garden peonies, which are producing new blooms on a daily basis. After the surfeit of Sarah Bernhardt, I am now cutting Bowl of Beauty and Duchess De Nemours. Once again I have chosen a simple arrangement in a plain jug. These blooms are so sumptuous that I like to enjoy them on their own.
Bowl of Beauty has flowered for the first time since planting two years ago and has only produced two blooms this year, both of which are in my jug! This is a very well known peony with a beautiful pink anemone-like flower. The centre is filled with tiny creamy yellow petals and the flower is very fragrant. Now that it has started to bloom I am looking forward to lots more flowers in future years as this plant matures.
Sarah Bernhardt is still producing new blooms, so she has made another appearance today!
The peony for me speaks of the romance of early summer – glamorous, fragrant and blowsy it is no wonder that these flowers are so popular at weddings. In my dreams I would like to host a summer party using only peonies to decorate the tables.
Also in my jug today is the aristocratic Duchess de Nemours. With ivory white flowers tinged with yellow at the base, this peony has a scent similar to Lily of the Valley. I have lots of buds on this plant and am planning a vase full on the hall table later this week – I can just imagine the combined scent of the numerous blooms greeting me as I come downstairs in the morning.
I have been doing a little research into the theory that peonies should not be moved. It would seem that the peony was named by the ancient Greeks after Paeon, the physician to their gods. They believed that if you tried to move a peony a woodpecker would come and peck out your eyes, which seems a very good reason to me to leave them alone! This superstition has stuck with the plant although my experience of splitting and moving peonies is that they survive very well (and I have never had a problem with a woodpecker). The Duchess de Nemours came with me from my previous garden as a small section of a much bigger plant and she has been flowering for the last two years. This year she must have at least twenty flowers waiting to open. The key to moving a peony is to plant the tuber shallowly. Peonies need a period of cold to produce buds and if you plant too deeply the warmer soil actually hinders the production of flowers.
I have mentioned before that I like to feed my peonies with rose food in the spring. As my plants are coming into flower it is very clear which beds I managed to feed and which were omitted due to spring time pressures. The plants that were fed not only have far more flowers – they also have much better foliage. Although peonies can cope quite well with neglect, I would certainly recommend annual feeding if you are keen to have plenty of flowers to cut.
There are three types of peonies. The early flowering, short plants that produce red flowers in mid May are the original cottage peonies (P. officinalis). The next to flower in my garden are the Tree Peony varieties. Finally in late May to mid June the cut flower varieties that I am featuring now start to bloom. These are P. lactiflora hybrids and originated in China. Many were bred specifically for the cut flower industry. The often French names are the result of French breeders getting involved with these peonies and more recently many introductions have been bred in America.
Since I made my vase this morning I have already picked a few more varieties as I collected some broad beans for supper. It has long been my dream to fill my house with peonies and for the first time I am coming close to realising this dream!
I hope you will pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have found in their garden today.