Monday, June 8, 2009


You were probably expecting the regular Mish-Mash Monday post today and, frankly, so was I! But I just have waaaay too many photos so I'm sticking to one topic for each of the next few posts. (I know!)

I have three peonies, all divisions from a gardening friend. The one in the sunniest location had just started blooming while I was in Chicago.

Here's one of the big, poofy flowers in bloom.

And another bud about to open. (The rain droplets almost make me look like I know what I'm doing with the camera, but that's sheer coincidence!)

The second peony, at the north side of my house, is now opening, too. The burgundy irises look so nice next to it, a wonderful color contrast, but I find it difficult photographing dark and light things together. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you how great it looks!

My third peony is in one of my wild beds. It gets the least amount of sun, and the fewest buds, and hasn't started blooming yet.

But wait! We're not done with peonies. Not by a long shot. We're off now to visit the Peony Garden at the University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum (that's where the daffodil line was, too).

The garden has 230 kinds of peonies, arranged in three rows of nine beds each (making 27—it's Monday Maths without a drawing!). Each bed has about 30 plants.

Yep, that's my mom. She's joining us on our walk.

I was happy to see some single peonies, like this grouping of a light pink variety. (Even though each bed had a laminated sign with plant IDs, the colors were faded from the sun and it was hard matching the photo to the live plant. So we'll just enjoy the pretty colors and textures.)

And this nice darker pink variety.

And this white kind.

I was also fascinated by the bud colors. My own peonies have buds with burgundy and white striping/splashes. They are very striking and remind me of a Monet painting. So I was surprised to find solid-color buds, like this one in vibrant pink...

...and this one in white.

I also really liked this variety with red stems.

Speaking of red, peonies tend to be shades of pink and white, so I was surprised to find red and burgundy peonies in this collection. This is the darkest peony I've ever seen, a true burgundy. The camera didn't capture the color precisely correctly; it was even darker and deeper than this!

I was amazed at how red this peony was. It looks more fuchsia in the photo, but was truly red in real life.

My mom and I both loved this fringed peony, Lois Kelsey (its unique leaves made it easy to pick out on the laminated ID sheet!). Isn't she cool?

And, finally, I love the textures and colors of this grouping. The buds and young flowers are pink, the older flowers white, the stamens yellow, and the pistils pink. Cool!

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little peony walk. Now let's go to lunch!


  1. I have one peony in my garden (I need to get more!) and it's in full bloom right now. That red single peony is just beautiful. I'll have to keep a look out for one of those.

  2. Lois Kelsey is really neat. But my favorite has to be the blowsy pink one in your garden. A peony garden is a sight to see though. Wonderful.

  3. Your photos are beautiful. I know how hard it is to get both dark and light colors to photograph well together.

    How lucky you are to have that peony garden near by. I study the catalogs but you really can't tell much by catalog photos. Visiting a garden with hundreds of examples would be perfect.

  4. One of my favorite flowers. I would love to visit that peony garden.

  5. I have been to this arboretum before. I missed peony time but do remember the most gorgeous display of delphiniums. Loved taking the peony walk with you. I would love to have such a walk in my garden. Too much shade here.

  6. What beautiful photos! And how nice that your mom can join you on your trip. I wish mine could.--Randy

  7. Well, I would type more but I'm too busy drooling over those peonies. :)

  8. Great photos Monica. I have quite a few peonies in my garden, but they are all the same variety - a delicious deep burgundy colour which is really quite stunning! But from the looks of your photos I need to go out and get some other varieties as well!!

  9. Beautiful peonies Monica...I love them all...single, double and now fringed! Lois is a beauty for sure.
    Thanks for the tour...I was looking for Mish-Mash Monday;) gail

  10. This is a wonderful blog you author. I just found you off of Kylee's blog from her 'little acre'.

    WONDERFUL to meet you and I am looking forward to following you this season.

    Stop by my garden sometime - I recently featured peonies on my blog.

  11. I five Peonies in my garden now including the Peony Tree I added this spring. But after seeing some of those single beauties, I know I need more. ;) Your light colored one looks very striking combined with the dark magenta Irises. Nice photos today!

  12. Excellent peony photos, Monica! I too especially love the fringed peony, Lois Kelsey ... and I want one ... bad :)

  13. Your photos are wonderful, Monica! I don't have a single peony in my garden, and now I have serious peony-envy:) I have to tell you I had just a few minutes to check blog posts, so I was reading this a little too fast...I thought the first photo of the U. of M. garden was yours! Needless to say, I was astonished:) Your own peonies, though, are just as beautiful as the Arboretum's.

  14. Love the white peonies with the burgundy irises! Those contrasts are so wonderful.

  15. I think yours as definitely as pretty (if not nicer) than all of those gardens......

  16. Hi Monica....It is strange, I never really liked peonies. THEN I started blogging...I never realised there were so many different blooms. I absolutely love the huge blooms you have in your garden....they are gorgeous.
    I have one peony in the garden that was here when I came.....double bloom red, and I must say I am not very keen on that....

    I think I shall have to think seriously about planting some of the softer coloured blooms.....

    Lovely peony post and an education for me......

  17. Peonies are wonderful, especially when they got scent. Our human has three peonies: two filled ones without scent and one single one with a heavenly scent. It's a young plant and it bloomed last year with one bloom. This yaer it had two tiny buds, but they dried out. Sniff.

    Purrs and noselicks to Fiona & James!
    Siena & Chilli

  18. The peonies are just opening here. What a treat to see so many on one place. Love Lois! Must have a couple of those!

  19. Oh how fun to have your mom accompany you at the peony gardens. And what gardens those are too! I love the singles and the fringed white is a cutie pie! Your photos look pretty professional to me. :-)

  20. What a great place to visit, too bad the signs were faded. I need to find something like that around here (with legible signs) so I can definitively ID my Peony. Yours are lovely. I like the combo of the dark Irises and white Peony.

  21. Those are beautiful..Mine are starting to bloom....
    Michelle From Rambling Woods

  22. Oh WOW! You've got a lot of blooms in this post. Things are gray and rainy here in Chicago.

    mrbrownthumb @ chicago garden