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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Promise Of The Peony

I adore the peony. Its pretty colors, delightful fragrance and billowing blossoms make my heart happy.

Peonies by Emily Quinton:

I first became aware of peonies while shopping in the markets of France. Like so many of you I was instantly smitten.

Peonies in Paris.:

I dreamed of having peonies in my garden.

The Long Peonie Border at Penshurst Place | Flickr - Photo Sharing!:

Of course you may know that peonies can be a bit finicky.

Peony tubers like a shallow planting in well drained soil. Peonies like sun but only in a cooler climate ~ which means they do best in zones 2-7. They can take up to 3 years until a first bloom, have a blooming period of 2 seconds (kidding…sort of) and produce only one set of blooms a year.

An easy guide to growing peonies! Indoors and out!  Gardening, Growing Peonies, How to Grow Peonies:

Of course I live in zone 8a. Everything I read said that peonies do not grow well, if at all, here.

I didn’t care. I wanted PEONIES!

ADORE Peonies, fragrant, delicate yet bold, love to have a vase full of them in May! I was a little freaked out by them as a child because our neighbor had some and I thought it was weird that ants were crawling all over them.:

I read that gardeners in zone 8a could possibly have success if the peonies were planted in pots.

So I planted two tubers in separate pots in the fall of 2015.

They barely hung on last summer. One 2016 winter storm came through and busted one of the pots and so I transferred the peony into the ground in an effort to try and save it.

Chestine Gowdy peony, 1913

The plant actually improved.

So much so that this past fall  I made the decision to transplant the other peony into the ground as well.

Peonies: Lost Forever? - ELSA SASS, 1930:

This past winter we had unexpected freezing temperatures and I did not cover the peony bushes.

Then a few weeks ago a tornado ripped through our yard.

The next day I found the peony plants lying on their sides as though they were gasping their last breathe.

Heartbroken, I just walked away.

I told myself to be thankful that I would soon find them in stores for a short season.

I "heart" peonies.  They were in my wedding bouquet.  And amazingly, I have two peony plants that have bloomed a few flowers the past two years after planting.  Praying for many more.:

Earlier this week I walked out into my garden for the first time in weeks finally getting a break from school.

Recently, my heart has been heavy, my mind clouded with insecurity. I felt that digging in dirt, communing with nature, might provide a bit of clarity.

You see I am due to graduate in 8 short weeks and questioning what my future should hold. I know 1000’s of graduates are walking in the same shoes but it seems somehow…wrong… even humiliating, given my advance in years.

Image result for dead peony

As I began working in the bed where the peonies had been planted, pulling weeds and clearing debris away, my heart lifted.

The peonies had bounced back!

Even though it will be one more year before they bloom I am happy in what their promise holds.

Peony 003

I can’t help but think that there is a lesson or two in that.


“Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” ~ Matthew 6:28


Elizabeth at Eiffel Tells said...

I can understand your frustration Laura. Peonies are the perfect flower, but despite my best efforts, I can't grow them here in Australia. However, they grow wild in our garden in France where they are neglected and have to compete with the weeds and strawberries for sunshine and soil.

Jeanie said...

A lesson indeed. I struggle with my peonies -- I think they áre in both bad dirt and bad light in my space. I send you good wishes for their continued healing and bloom -- and meanwhile, pick up a few at the market for your quick fix! I'm so very glad they survived!


We had a peony Bush in the side yard at my home in central Illinois. It did great year after year despite little attention. I did not appreciate the flower until I grew up and no longer loved in the house. My favorite as well. Enjoyed your segment.

Sarah said...

Laura, I'm so happy the peonies are back. That's amazing! I tried to grow peonies several years ago. A dealer told me to pack them with ice during the winter since we get so few freezes. Didn't work!
I have to buy mine in the market. I hope to find some today!

Sandi said...

Unopened peonies look like scoops of ice cream!


Peonies are my FAVORITE flower!!! I have 4 plants and hope to buy more this year. They also bring happiness to me heart.
deb :)

Rue said...

Yes, there is my friend. You are not too old. No one is ever too old to follow their dreams. Be the peony and make your come back ;)


Marilyn said...

Peonies and lilacs! I grew up in central NY and they grow everywhere there. My childhood home was surrounded by peonies and lilacs and you haven't lived until you wake up to their wonderful fragrance drifting in through an open window!!! It's pure bliss.

You're the first person I have met in this area to successfully grow peonies. That's not an easy task. You are giving me the courage to try again.

Thanks for posting about your success with peonies and I also know that you will be successful in whatever direction your career takes you. :-)

Marilyn (in Dallas)

Barbara H. said...

I've been wanting to try peonies. They're so pretty. I looked up my gardening zone - one forum said it was a 6b or 7, so it should do well here. So glad yours bounced back!

I know it must seem odd to have "what do I do with my life" questions at this stage, but God will lead when we ask Him. May He direct your way as soon as possible - I know how uncomfortable it is to live with uncertainty.

ellen b. said...

Peonies are one of my favorites and this year it looks like I'll get more than 3 blooms. Glad your plant bounced back! Congrats on being so close to graduation.

Auntie Em said...

Yup, they are short lived blooms but what beautiful blooms while they are out! Ours are just starting to poke up from the ground right now but they will give us a beautiful show soon, as long as the blossoms don't get rained on. Like the delicate rose buds they turn brown and give up as soon as they get wet.