Monday, May 16, 2016

A Passion for Peonies

by Terri

About this time of year, you’ll usually find me rhapsodizing about peonies. If there’s anything that takes the sting out of the end of the cactus blooming season (and the beginning of our summer heat) it’s the arrival of the peonies. And, really, who doesn’t love peonies? They come in so many gorgeous colors that it’s hard to choose one so I don’t even try.

Since we can’t grow them here in the desert, I have to settle for buying them at Trader Joe’s.

The first ones to arrive are the gorgeous watermelon pink ones:

The amazing thing about this type is that each day their color fades a little more:

. . . and a little more:

. . . until they are almost white:

This type also tends to produce the largest flowers, opening up to blooms that are about 7 inches across!

Then there are the hot pink, almost fuchsia ones:

These also fade a bit the longer they are open and I love the multitude of different pinks in their petals.

And, of course, the beautiful, pristine white ones:

And then there's the purples! This is a variety I haven't seen before. They don’t have near as many petals and are smaller but those yellow moppy centers against the purple . . . swoon!

Then there are the soft lilac ones.  I love that these are a completely different type not only in color but in texture (“texture” is our Monthly Focus, if you didn’t know!) Their inner petals are fluffy and numerous and they always remind me of those tissue paper flowers we used to make as kids!

This “fluffy” type also comes in a barely-there pale lilac pink:

But probably my most favorite thing about peonies besides their gorgeous colors and wonderful scent is that they are so photogenic. When peonies enter my house, they had better be prepared to have their photo taken! 

As has probably become obvious, I am passionate about flowers and about macro photography and so I am in my happy place when I have flowers to shoot, whether they are in my garden or in the middle of my kitchen table, and I’m giving my macro lens a workout getting up close and personal with them. 

And lest you think I am blowing our entire food budget on peonies during the month of May, my family knows how much I love them and my Mother’s Day gift usually includes a gift card from Trader Joe’s to be used for just this purpose. They know me well and thank goodness they do!

I hope you live where you can grow peonies or that there is a place where you can buy them because photos do not do them justice.  They have to be seen to be believed!




Anonymous said...

They also have to be smelled to be believed! I was amazed from your first photo and wondered how you had managed to grow them in the desert. I was surprised to learn that Trader Joe's carries such a variety. I discovered a love of peonies when I moved from Southern California to Ohio and found some growing in my garden. They were the most beautifully fragrant flowers I'd ever experienced. Peonies thrive here in Maine, too, and I long for a little garden where I can have some of my own.

Anonymous said...

These are incredibly beautiful, Terri! I don't know a lot about Peonies, but love the fullness and layers upon layers of petals! May have to investigate my nearest nursery! Thanks for sharing!

Cathy H. said...

Gorgeous, Terri! Although I don't have any peonies in my garden, but there are some nearby at my mom's and my daughter has quite a variety of them. I can't get over how wonderful they smell. I'm sure you must be thrilled when they arrive in Trader Joes. You and your macro lens to wonders with them!

Dotti said...

Peonies are beautiful, as evidenced by your gorgeous photos. The color metamorphosis is nothing short of amazing. Peonies can be grown quite successfully in Kentucky but we have no place in our yard that provides the right conditions. I may need to rethink this.

kybarb said...

Beautiful photos Terri! I love peonies! Just read this article and thought of you:
This garden in Pennsylvania is going on my bucket list for sure:) if you ever come to KY you must come in May and see the peonies at Youdell gardens!
Also I made a trip to the Cinti Trader Joes looking for peonies but no luck, then stopped at my favorite local gourmet shop and found some! Just waiting for better light to get some photos.

kelly said...

terri, you are speaking my love language! :) the peonies i grow in my garden are the super-full and layered style. but i absolutely love the ones that have the open centers. Kelsey put a couple in the arrangement she made me for my birthday and i could not get enough of them. so amazing the way they fade over the course of a few days.

Deanna said...

Oh I do love those peonies, I have 2 bushes with very light pink layers and layers of petals. I always cut them and enjoy them in the house or on the back porch. They are still in tight buds for now but soon they will burst into beauties!!

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