As peony lovers, time revolves around, well, peonies.
Who doesn't love them? The big, fluffy doubles dripping with fragrance; the singles with perfect petal form; the intersectional Itohs with magnificent colors. Peony flowers are simply magnificent.
By late fall, or early winter, peony growers have cut back, dug, divided, potted, planted and cleaned up the fields and display gardens.
Gardeners have clipped back peony stems and perhaps divided a few choice specimens to increase their plantings. Maybe even moved a plant or two to a sunnier location. The peonies ordered over the past year arrive in time for optimum bare root planting in the fall. While the fall garden or field can be more about work than beauty, the anticipation of those future blossoms, billowing with fragrance and amazing petal structures keeps the goal in sight.
We may plant peony seeds in the hopes of producing new beauties. With some diligence in keeping the seed bed or area tagged, weeded and watered, our patience in the wait of a few years or more, can reward us with a new variety.
December and January arrive with colder temperatures (perfect for peonies) and we scour catalogs and the internet for our next additions. The online peony catalogs open up; and, trying not to hyperventilate, we may be able to snag one of the rare or new varieties; or, we may find it sold out already. If we didn't get THE ONE, the hunt is on; maybe we'll find it at a peony farm or APS auction before next years' catalog arrives. In our search we see hundreds of varieties available - some chosen for fragrance; others because they are upright and never need staking; short and tall; single, double, Japanese style or semi-double; colorful or subdued. Choices can be endless.
We share photos on social media in groups dedicated solely to the peony and we discover varieties and colors that tug at our hearts. With the internet we can get a glimpse of peonies all year long. Facebook has many peony groups you can join. My favorite Facebook peony group is Peony Lovers and Enthusiasts. Pinterest has pages and pages of peony Pins and Boards.
Winter slowly, very slowly, turns to spring for peony lovers. Eventually, it arrives. This is a time of great anticipation for many. Waiting and watching for those first stems to emerge. New growth can sprout over several months, starting in winter or early spring, depending upon where you live, and whether you have early, mid or late season varieties. Crazy, isn't it, how we get excited seeing those little rosy red buds push through the soil (and we announce it with glee)? Every year. We appreciate and are confident in, the cycle of life.
Soon, it will be drier and warmer and we can transplant peonies from containers in the spring.
Fall planted peonies begin to sprout (they will be small the first two years as they develop their root system); and, mature peonies will be off and running. Stems grow, leaves unfurl and buds develop. Suddenly, we have bushes. Full of buds. Our anticipation kicks into high gear. We may check on our peonies every day, if not several times a day - ready to catch the first glimpse of them as open flowers. When we have a selection of early, mid-season and late varieties, we can often enjoy a 7 to 8 week bloom season, depending upon the weather. Some years are more fleeting; but, every day a peony is in bloom, is a wonderful day.
We enjoy peonies in the garden, in simple vases; and; in elaborate arrangements. Peonies are quite simply, good for the soul.
Peony anticipation is here, again. Enjoy yours.
Brooks Gardens Oregon peony farm will be open to visitors April 25 through June 10, 2020 (earlier or later dates if weather warrants). Potted peony plants available at our farm during bloom season and most Saturdays during early spring (check our home page for dates); or, browse our peony catalog to order roots for fall planting.