The most romantic flower ever?

Peonies ready to be arranged
Peonies ready to be arranged

OK, so we can safely say I have been MIA for some weeks now! You know when someone says ‘I don’t know where the days go?’ and you think ‘really?’. Well I really don’t know where the days have gone lately! I’ve had so much I’ve wanted to blog about and let you all know about, but the days have flown by and here I am nearly 3 weeks after my last blog post and finally sitting down and writing!

So I thought after a long stint away from my blog I’d open on a new feature post that I’m hopefully going to be running every month. The new post is going to be…drum roll please…Plant of the month! I know this might sound a bit strange but with so much wonder in the garden, sometimes it’s nice to highlight one plant that is working it’s socks off and give it a bit of extra praise. Also I thought it might be nice as I can feature a how to guide, which will feature just my own advice and what works for me, but just in case it’s a plant that someone has wanted to give a go and maybe not had the confidence to.

Peony Coral Sunset , which starts off a beautiful coral colour and changes to a light yellow to resemble the sunset!
Peony Coral Sunset , which starts off a beautiful coral colour and changes to a light yellow to resemble the sunset!

For June’s plant of the month I really couldn’t pick anything else other than the Peony! June is a lovely month for gorgeous flowers as the days warm up and the conditions are to their liking, however the Peony is everywhere at the moment and rightly so! I was first drawn to Peonies at a young age, when in my mum’s garden hiding in between some shrubs and chives a beautiful burgundy, blousy flower emerged! I demanded my mum told me what this beautiful flower was and declared my love for it! Back then mum didn’t know which variety it was only that it was a Peony, but since then I have found out that it was Karl Rosenfold as I too now have the same Peony. Mum then went on to fill the garden with beautiful Peonies such as Sarah Bernhardt, Bowl of Beauty and Duchess de Nemours. I too have quite a few Peonies – Sarah Bernhardt, Coral Sunset and Karl Rosenfold however I would love some more with one of them being the Duchess de Nemours. The Duchess de Nemours is a gorgeous double white Peony with a heavenly scent to it – I cannot recommend it highly enough!

I have to hold my hand up and admit that in the past I have had my fair share of potential failures with Peonies! My Coral Sunset this year has flowered for the first time in two years, however my fingers are firmly crossed that a bright and blousy future lies ahead!

My Coral Sunset finally flowering after 2 years!
My Coral Sunset finally flowering after 2 years!

I’m sure everyone has heard you can’t plant Peonies too deep! That saying always rings in my ears, as it has always widely been discussed and one of those rules that shalt not be broken! It is however definitely correct and must be followed. I currently have a couple of Peonies in pots as they were struggling and needed some extra TLC. I planted them in shallow pots with their eyes (Peony roots) showing on top of the soil, I thought maybe this might be too shallow, however they have done better than I could ever have expected. Now I’m no master in how deep they should be planted so I consulted a couple of websites for some more precise information. Sarah Raven’s website features a wonderful page dedicated to planting and caring for Peonies. On the page Sarah states that Peony eyes shouldn’t be planted any deeper than 3-5 cm beneath the soil, the page features quite a few handy tips and also some great information on how to make your cut Peonies last longer. Please have a read of all the information via this link.

Karl Rosenfold flowering this Summer
Karl Rosenfold flowering this Summer

OK, so we know that Peonies don’t like to be buried too deep but what about sun exposure? Peonies thrive in fun Sun to light shade. The previous tenants of our garden planted and left a beautiful Karl Rosenfold Peony in our front garden in nearly full shade. After hearing ‘You shouldn’t move Peonies’ I eventually plucked up the courage in Autumn last year and decided to move the Peony, I felt I did have much to lose as the Peony was really struggling! This Peony became one of my Peonies kept in a pot, and has doubled in size since it was moved 8 months ago! Hopefully I can be the proof that Peonies CAN be moved! This said they don’t like to be moved at just any time of the year! Peonies are best to be moved in Autumn when the soil is still warm and they can then spend the winter establishing the new growth for the next year.

I couldn't resist cutting a few buds for the house!
I couldn’t resist cutting a few buds for the house!

Another handy tip that I do think is important with Peonies and one that Sarah Raven also mentions is to cut the foliage of your Peonies right back. I have quite a few well established Peonies, and in late Autumn I cut the foliage right back and dispose of the foliage. Not only does this tidy up the plant but it also helps to get rid of any nasty diseases lurking in the old foliage! I cannot recommend this tip enough, as Peony wilt can be a major problem with old growth. Something that I discovered in the first year of moving to our garden. The previous tenants not knowing, had not cut back the old Peony growth and the new foliage’s buds fell fowl of Peony Wilt. When we took over the garden the buds were nearly all lost, so I cut them off and disposed of them. Luckily this year they have been absolutely fine!

Just a few tips that I have picked up along the way but with a bit of love Peonies can enchant any garden and make exquisite cut flowers turning even a jam jar into something magical! Please do share any tips or photo’s of your Peonies in the comments section – I’d love to hear them all!

Peonies can even make an old jam jar look amazing!
Peonies can even make an old jam jar look amazing!

I hope you have all enjoyed this ‘feature’, and please nominate any plants that you would like to see featured. They can be flowers or vegetables but they must be in their prime in the month they’re featured!

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