Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The peonies are in bud. Tiny nectaries that produce a sweet nectar on the edge of the leaves that cover the developing buds attract ants, beetles and often bees.   It is folklore that the ants help the blooms open. The flowers would open without ants.

I am reading about peonies. This year I would like to identify the older varieties I have growing in the gardens. I found some photographs of the peonies from last May.
The peony is the main symbol of China and represents good fortune, wealth, honor and happy marriage. There is a peony festival in China every April.

The Peony is named after the Greek figure, Palon, who was
a pupil of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.

My peonies have a story. Many years ago my husband saved 10 large plants from going to the landfill when he was remolding a High School.  He brought the plants home in the middle of a hot July. We put them into buckets of water and planted them as quickly as we could. It took a few years for them to take and set buds. Now they produce gorgeous May flowers.
I have never known very much about the Peony.
I read that in medieval times the peony was valued as a medicinal
plant. They were often planted in physic gardens.
Today we can often find very old plants growing near monasteries.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the peony root, Mu Don Pi,
has been shown to have an anti-microbia effect on escherichia coli, typhoid, cholera, staphylococcus, streptococcus hemolyticus and pneumococci. The peony root has an anti-inflamatory agent which can reduce arthritic swelling.
Dried petals have been used in teas as a cough remedy and
as a treatment for varicose veins.
The flowers were once used in making perfumes.
Bright red peonies were used for dying wool, paper and silk.
Peony flowers close up at night and on overcast days.

Claude Monet planted pale pink Japanese peonies as a perfect counter foil for the blue and mauve irises in his gardens.
He did know color!
I am taking notes as I learn about the peony.
I am tracking the bloom times of the peonies this year.
I shall divide my plants this Autumn and make another peony bed. I like the idea of planting iris in with them. My iris need to be moved since they are now in too much shade.

It was cool and cloudy today.
The Brown Thrasher was puffed up staying warm in the chilly air.

The Hummingbird was at the feeder most of the day.
I shall change the sugar water tomorrow.
I give him fresh nectar three times a week.
I shall be watching to see if
the Hummingbirds nectar in the Peonies this year.
I think I shall have a Peony Festival!


Unknown said...

Those peonies are phenomenal! Great pics! Be sure to share all your knowledge on them.

Judy said...

Your season is well advanced over ours!! My peonies are only a few inches high, and that is the ones closest to the house. The others are barely poking their heads out of the ground...
I have found that is one way to extend the season - plant some of them close to the south face of the house where they get the reflected warmth and bloom sooner.