Now that we’re fully in the grips of autumn its time to start thinking about your favourite summer flower…you heard me right!
If there is a person alive who doesn’t give a deep sigh of pure, soul deep, joy when they see the beauty of a peony in full bloom I’ll eat my scissors.
In my opinion the peony is the most magnificent and luxurious of all our British summer flowers. A complete and utter diva, either on the table or in a lavish border, the sun springing them wide open as though they are a personal gift from summer. They look just as staggering when presented as a single precious stem in a bottle, or greedily gathered into a jug accompanied by, philadelphia, wax-flower and nigella. Their many frothing ballerina skirts, large round shape and sumptuous colours make them a firm favourite.
I know it’s seems counter intuitive to be planting out in the autumn. This is the time when everything is dying right!? However, it is now widely agreed that peonies planted in mid October to mid November do considerably better than those planted in the spring.
Choose a sunny spot (like me, they love their sunbathing) dig a large hole, wide rather than deep, pop them in, and leave them alone!
Then it’s the waiting game.
This is the very worst thing about peonies if your planting them for their incredible flowers, which of course everybody is. You need to resist cutting the flowers off your plant for two to three years!!! Peonies take a long time to get themselves comfortable, and if you cut the first blooms you see you’ll never get that stunningly beautiful, abundant crop of frothy tutu flowers that you’re dying for.