Unprepossessing at first
I can't believe the only picture I have in my files of Paeonia officinalis is this wishy washy distance shot. The trouble with growing many thousands of plants is that you often don't get around to taking proper pictures of them. And among the dozen or so peonies I grow, this is one of the best. And there is a good story attached.
We got it six or eight years ago from Bluebird Nursery. Two plants. They graced what we rather grandly called the Perennial Triangle for years until The Separation when in the rush of things and perhaps with just a little bit of malice I noticed that Both of Them had been removed in the division of possessions, and now My perennial triangle was bereft of the essential pink flash in April and May. I was Bereft. And piqued...Considering the many plausible and potential tragedies that the dissolution of 23 years of marriage might cause (and there were a number--thankfully not too many, and none devastating: a tribute to both of us) this was a particularly galling little fillip. After all, there were two of the suckers. Shouldn't one have been left?
Two years transpired from the time the peony was disappeared...and Lo! and Behold! last April what was that pink flash I noticed from the window? Not one, but both of the peonies had arisen like little pink phoenixes and were sporting wan flowers: forming quite dense little tufts from the root cuttings that had been left behind. I must not have noticed the foliage the last year, but there must have been some to have garnered enough sunlight to produce a bloom!
So now, instead of two little tufts, I have two robust colonies of this winsome gem. And meanwhile, a friend in Arvada has given me a large clump of the double, scarlet form! Tell me there is not a hidden meaning (and justice) in the Universe? Check out the picture below when the peony was in its glory days (bright pink in front of the gas plant): you can see why I'm glad it's back!