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My Favorite Peony

May 29th, 2010

I must admit that I love peonies. I have a two that were growing here when me moved in. They’re planted in a terrible spot, practically in the gravel driveway. They don’t seem to mind much, they bloom beautifully every year. I plan on moving them this fall, a little farther back into some better soil. I’m hoping they’ll spread and fill out, they haven’t gotten much bigger in the 9 years we’ve lived here despite my mulching & fertilizing.

Don’t let the beauty of peonies fool you. They’re tough as nails once they’re established, as proven by the ones I have growing in the driveway. They can take drought and they’re true perennials blooming for years. My mom has some peonies that she got from my grandma that were growing at the home she grew up in which are more than 50 years old. I have a start from one of these as well, I can’t wait for it to bloom.

Last year I added 6 new peonies to the gardens here at Chiot’s Run and I’ll be adding a few more this year (my mom’s giving me a few from her gardens that need moved). Most of the ones I planted last year won’t bloom this year, but one has one small bloom. It can take a few years for peonies to get established. I have one that I waited 6 years for it to bloom. If only I had added these new peonies 8 years ago when we moved in the gardens would filled with them now.

Once you start collecting them it’s hard to keep track of the ones you have, I must find a good plant labeling system so I can mark them permanently. I know a few of the varieties I have growing; ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, ‘Dr Alexander Flemming’, ‘Bowl of Beauty’, ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ as well as ‘Felix Crousse’ and a few unknown varieties. All of my peonies are the pink family with my favorites being this light pink of the ‘Sarah Bernhardt’.

Do you have a favorite peony?

14 Comments to “My Favorite Peony”
  1. Deb on May 29, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Those are beautiful!! I tried to grow peonies without much success. I need to try again.

    Reply to Deb's comment

  2. tj on May 29, 2010 at 8:39 am

    …You know, I can’t say that I have a fav’ peony ’cause I love ’em all! :o) I too need to move mine. They are planted near a well with an arbor which a trumpet vine grows over and the vine is old and huge and it shades the peonies too much so they haven’t spread and the blooms are getting to be less and less. Moving peonies is on my “to-do” list… :o)

    …And looking back I regret that we didn’t plant more pine trees when we first bought our place. In recent years I’ve been buying and planting more of them but when I think about how our place would look now if I had planted oodles of trees back then – hindsight is always 20/20…*sigh* :o)

    …Beautiful photos!

    …Enjoy your weekend and blessings too… :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  3. Corrie on May 29, 2010 at 9:30 am

    My mom’s garden was always filled with peonies, and I felt fortunate to discover that the house my husband and I bought has several large, old clumps that bloom like crazy. I have read that planting them too deeply (or mulching them excessively) can cause them to not bloom. Also, always use fertilizer that’s not high in nitrogen, or you’ll get all leaves.

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  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: My Favorite Peony #flowers #peonies […]

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  5. sarah on May 29, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Gorgeous! Someday I hope to be looking at beautiful peony blooms like that in our yard – just breath taking! Thanks for sharing :)
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..The Butterfly Bush ~ Buddleia =-.

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  6. Kate Bodmann on May 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Our local county extension makes/engraves plant labels as a fund raiser for our Master Gardener program. They are very nice, durable, custom engraved with up to 3 lines all for $3 (plus shipping). In your case it might be extra nice to have one line be where you got that plant or when you added it to your garden. Below is the link to the order form in case you are interested. The contact email is old as well as a few particulars but the new person in charge is Cindy 402-333-2767 if you wanted to call if you had questions.

    .-= Kate Bodmann´s last blog ..Wind is blowing me towards Kinder goats =-.

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    • Susy on May 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks, this is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • MAYBELLINE on May 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm

      Wow – this is a nice find and a great fund raiser. I wish schools would do something like this rather than make kids sell candy. Thanks for the info.
      .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..1st Tomatoes of the Season =-.

      Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  7. MAYBELLINE on May 29, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I don’t think peonies grow here in Bakersfield, CA.
    What a shame.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..1st Tomatoes of the Season =-.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  8. kristin @ going country on May 30, 2010 at 11:53 am

    We have AWESOME peonies. Some by the road that are hot pink, and some darker pink and white ones in a long line by the house. They were planted by my husband’s grandmother, I think, and I have no idea what they are. They started dropping their blooms while we were gone, which bummed me out because I never got a picture of Cubby with them. My “Baby with Flowers” series will now be incomplete.
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..Priorities =-.

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  9. Seren Dippity on May 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I found a place online that does nice brass labels for a reasonable price.
    I’m ordering labels for my fruit trees.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

    • Susy on May 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation, these are very nice.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Penny on May 31, 2010 at 9:41 am

    These are so lovely.

    Sarah Bernhardt is one of my favorites and, like her namesake, a star! You might like Festiva Maxima. It will take few years before you see blooms, but they are so worth it. It is mostly white with pink streaks and is one of the best for fragrances.

    When we moved here we discovered we have tree peonies, which are also delightful. They bloom in the midwest before the other peonies and some of the flowers are the size of small dinner plates. With them and the kind we are all used to, the show goes on for over a month.

    Markers are always nice, but, if you don’t already, keep a photo journal with picture and plant information. Your photos are beautiful.

    Reply to Penny's comment

  11. Toña on June 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    My husband and I discovered peonies this year. We went to a farm (more like a peony plantation!) a few weekends ago and were surrounded by thousands of huge gorgeous blossoms. Our favorites were ‘Eventide’ ‘Cherry Ruffles’ ‘Coral Sunset’ and ‘Illini Warrior.’
    Love your blog by the way!

    Reply to Toña's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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