Paeonies, one of my absolute favourite flowers, with their beautiful colour combinations and delicate scent. The only bad thing about them is that they have a habit of flowering gloriously and profusely about two days before the major storms are due! Sadly, they go from fully laden, heady blossoms, to a disheveled mess of brown stained petals strewn all over the garden path. I often think they look like confetti in the rain.

There are three in my front, South facing garden and these are the ones that end up getting beaten to a pulp in a matter of days after they’ve started to flower. Happens every year, happened this year. The sun warmed brickwork behind them coaxes them into flower just a little earlier than the ones in the back garden. For that, they pay a price. I usually manage a couple of photos of them, and then suddenly they’re gone, and I’m left wielding a pair of secateurs, cutting down the flowering stems until next year.

In the back garden though, they flower just a week or two later, just enough for the worst of the storms to have passed on by. These are my bargain paeonies, bought at the very end of the season one year as unnamed little pip squeaks that were a couple of days short of being tossed onto the compost heap at a local supermarket. I think they cost me about $5 at the time for four of them. I planted them up and waited with anticipation the next Spring to see what I would get. Their flower buds are the most divine shade of pink, splashed with a little dark pink and red…. and then they open to the most beautiful soft, pastel pink with a light scent and the occasional red/dark pink marking. I think they’re Raspberry Ripple, but I’m not sure. Currently there’s two large vases of them in the house, and still plenty of flowers to enjoy in the garden. They’ve become very prolific and haven extended my season of paeony enjoyment by at least a month. Not a bad return for $5!

When I was small my Grandma had an old fashioned powder puff in a really pale shade of pastel pink…. at the time I thought it was a large paeony flower!! I think I was about 5 or so!! I think I must give her some credit for my paeony love.

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