Gorgeous showsy, blowsy peonies.
When I first saw peonies as a teenager, I mistook them for roses.
You either love peonies or you don't.
I adore them.
When we first moved here 25 years ago, a friend's Dad brought me my first peonies along with other wonderful garden donations. He told me not to plant the peonies too deep and to give them support from heavy rain.
I have moved them several times and have supplemented the original 3 or 4 with many others. But my favourites of the ones he gave me are the deepest fuschia - I have never seen such a colour in anyone else's garden. He passed away long ago and I doubt he ever knew the names of the ones he gave me. Therefore I am sorry - I cannot tell you the names either.
So I just take care of them, fertilize them each year, chop out pieces for friends who ask and wire them up, to protect against wind and rain.
My latest location for them is all around the deck. Some years they barely reach the top of the deck - other years they rise a foot above the edge.
They get full sun all day so perhaps that's why they are so "happy".
Canadian Gardening magazine says: "Peonies are large, plentiful and easy to grow, many have sweetly fragrant flowers and are deer-resistant, drought-resistant and cast-iron hardy".
Why do peonies attract ants?
They don't actually help a peony open up (that's a myth). Ants are just attracted to the nectar from the peony buds as they open. To avoid bringing a lot of ants into the house when you cut the peonies for a vase, just dunk them upside down in a bucketful of water for 5 minutes after cutting. The ants will float out. Give the flowers a shake, bring them in and enjoy!
Peonies are best divided and re-planted in the fall. They love rich soil but also do very well in clay. They can take a bit of shade but do best in full sun.