Peony pretty: In dreamy hues, these fragrant beauties will brighten up summer gardens
- Nigel Colborn says peonies are lush and extravagantly beautiful
- The UK-based gardening expert said double peonies are the most spectacular
- Said that peonies are easy to grow and thrive in all types of soil
Peonies are lush – an apt description of their flamboyant beauty. Rose-pretty in dreamy colors, delicate-leaved flowers have no thorns. the earliest Paeonia mlokosewitschii, nicknamed Molly-the-Witch, bears primrose-yellow, cup-shaped flowers in May. almost as early P. cambesedesii bears medium pink flowers above red-backed leaves. everyday, P. officinalis has deep pink to rosy red flowers in late spring.
The most beautiful species in the world come from Asia. But thanks to historic nurseries like Kelways and centuries of breeding, we have a colorful selection of gorgeous varieties. Among them are tree peonies.
Nigel Colborn says that P. cambesedesii (pictured) bears medium-sized flowers above red-backed flowers and has attractive seed pods that resemble court jesters’ pointy hats
Shrubs rather than trees, they were cultivated and prized in ancient China. One of the most beautiful is Rock’s peony, S. rockii Joseph Rock. The medium-sized shrub with sparse branches bears large white flowers with deep purple centers.
The only downside of the peony is brevity. Flowers come in a gorgeous blush then it’s over.
TWICE THE CHARM
Double-flowered peonies are the most spectacular. Their flowers are larger and longer lasting than the singles. But single-flowered varieties also have their own special charm and attract pollinators.
All peony leaves are attractive. Some also have subtly colored stems and leaves, especially when young in early spring. Both Molly-the-Witch and P. cambesedesii have attractive seed pods resembling the pointy hats of court jesters.
The UK-based expert says peonies are lush and that Paeonia mlokosewitschii, nicknamed Molly-the-Witch here, produces primrose-yellow, cup-shaped flowers in May
The finest herbaceous peonies were developed from the Himalayas P.lactiflora. Good varieties include soft pink Sarah Bernhardt, salmon-colored Coral Charm, and cream-colored, pink-leaved Bowl of Beauty.
Reds include Scarlet Buckeye Belle and the hybrid Red Charm. All make excellent cut flowers.
Peonies are easy to grow. They retain their beauty and vitality for years longer than many perennials. When flower numbers begin to dwindle, lift and divide your plants in the fall. Remove healthy divisions and replant in a well-lit, sheltered spot. Peonies also thrive in all soil types.