'' Peonies are an old-fashioned flower, healthy and vigorous,
that seldom fail, even with neglect " (Roy Klehm)
PEONY - SPRING SYMBOL OF REMINISCENCE
It is rather difficult to imagine more spectacular flowers than those of the Tree Peonies. Most popular as garden plants are the cultivars of Paoenia suffruticosa, which grow to some 2 metres in size and produce flowers 15-20 cm in April and May. This ones were planted out ages ago by my late Grandma so I don't know the exact age but anything above 25 years will do. In this area Tree Peonies are still thought of as 'Nanna's flowers' as everyone's grandma seemed to have a peony somewhere, and old varieties are lustfully sought after by collectors. Most of my Tree Peonies grow in partially shaded areas, and every other year their soil gets enriched with well decayed manure and peat which are responsible for the strong growth. Yes, they are hungry feeders. Planted along the pathway to your door, they are said to keep evil from your home. Peonies are rather long-lived and some can endure for decades and more.
In Chinese history, Tree Peonies were coveted by emperors and noblemen as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Peonies are like wine, they get better with age. I just wish their wonderfully scented flowerheads lasted a bit longer, quite a bit longer, and would not get so badly battered by rain which makes them droop. Nevertheless, a grandiose Tree Peony in full flower is one of the most stunning sights any gardener will see.