I have to apologise for my two week absence from Peonies & Posies. I have been head down in my borders most days, working frantically to try and get on top of the many weeds that are exploding out of the ground at great speed and trying to get all of my annuals and dahlias planted out now that the risk of frost has passed.

I have planned to get out with my camera on many days, but somehow the evening has arrived with no photos being taken – there have been many garden highlights that I would have loved to have shared but I just have to get on top of the borders before I can indulge myself with camera time!

Gardening is as much about preparing for the seasons ahead as it is about enjoying the moment and I have come to realise this spring just how important the autumn jobs are to the performance of the garden in the next year. Having failed to do any work in my garden between September and December I have found that the borders have been overrun with weeds this year. Also I was short of tulips as so many bulbs never made it into the ground and most of my biennial plants started last June went straight into the compost, so I am now missing the lovely honesty, sweet rocket and foxgloves that filled my vases last year. Thankfully as the peonies start to open and I am planning this years round of sowing biennials I feel that I have finally come full circle and can start to enjoy the garden again without constantly bemoaning what I am missing!

This week is just a quick look at the very first peonies to flower this year, which I have been enjoying in a vase for the last few days.



This is peony Red Charm – a very early double flowered peony. I picked it when the buds were fat and showing colour but had not started to open – I find this is the best way to get a long vase life out of a peony flower. If you wait until the flowers are open before picking they tend to drop their petals very quickly once in the warmth of the house.

On a sad note I have lost almost all my chickens to Mr Fox in the last week. My 4 Buff Orpingtons are fine as they sleep safely tucked up in a stable, but the many feral chickens that had moved in from next door were not tame enough to keep in a chicken house and always preferred to sleep in the trees. We have been fox free for the 6 years we have lived here but in the last week that has changed. My garden now seems a very quiet place and my lovely Buff Orpingtons look lost without their friends and in particular without their favourite cockerel who looked after them so well.This sad change is going to take some getting used too.

As ever on a Monday I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in with her challenge to find something from the garden to put in a vase in the house – do pop over to her blog to have a look at what she and the others have found this week.