The finest time of year

Right now, the garden is really coming to its summer peak. These beauties are also at their peak. Peonies. 


If I am entirely honest, the presence of these gorgeous blooms in a big mass at the front of our house was one of the reasons I was really really keen on what eventually became our abode. Probably not a conventional reason for buying a particular place over another but the previous owners had cut several large bunches of the tightly rolled flowers that were steadily unfurling, and the beautiful rose scent of them filled the living room. 

They are extremely easy to grow. These bushes are well established, they come up by themselves each year, we let them flower and then the actually rather attractive feathery foliage lasts through the summer. They die down with the first frosts and we remove the brown dead leaves afterwards. We add a little top dressing of home-made compost in autumn and spring (though this year we forgot so they are maybe slightly smaller than usual). And that’s it! 

Mostly I leave them outside on the bushes to be enjoyed by everyone walking past but today on the rainfall radar provided by our weather service I saw this heavy shower heading our way:


At this time of year occasionally heavy showers can develop into big storms with torrential rains. It has cooled off a bit since last week but even so I decided not to risk it and cut a big bunch of the aforementioned flowers in case heavy rain materialized and completely hammered them to pieces. 

I particularly love the tightly crammed petals just as the flowers are about to open fully. 


They come in a range of colours from deep burgundy red through pinks to pure white. I had always previously preferred the dark red, but given the pinks we have I’m pretty happy with what we’ve got too. The pure white is a beautiful complementary colour and occasionally has these tiny little ripples of deep pink shot through as in this one I cut a few days earlier. 

This is really one of my favourite times of year in the garden and it often seems to have good weather. Our peonies are one of the other big benefits. 

 They are now providing a beautiful scent, color and inspiration while I clear some rather tedious admin and the rain is softly falling outside… 

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