Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Peonies or paeonies?

My spell checker always corrects me when I spell peonies with an a, but I am used to spell it ‘paeonies’ so it’s hard to stop doing it, besides – who said the spell checker is always right?! In this case, both spellings seems to be just as correct, so I am going to continue spelling it with an a, and just simply ignore my spell checker :-)

My paeonies have finally flowered! It has been a long wait, this cold and wet spring – which according to the calendar now has tip-toed into summer without letting us know. Mind you, today was a glorious day here in London, and yesterday wasn’t too bad either, but the rest of the week will be ‘cloudy with showers or longer outbreaks of rain, heavy at times, feeling cool in strong and blustery winds’. Yeah, haven’t we heard it before....we’ve had this weather since beginning of April. But here are my paeonies today, in the coming-and-going sunshine, aren’t they gorgeous?!

I have borrowed this bit from Wikipedia:
Peony or paeony is a name for plants in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25 to 40.

Most are herbaceous perennial plants 1.5 - 5 feet (0.5 - 1.5 metres) tall, but some resemble trees up to 5 - 10 feet (1.5 – 3 metres) tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large, often fragrant flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.

This information is borrowed from a website called telefora:
With a recorded history that dates back thousands of years, it’s not surprising that even the mythology surrounding the origin of the paeony has multiple versions. One legend has it that the paeony is named after Paeon, a physician to the gods, who received the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. And another tells the story of that same physician who was “saved” from the fate of dying as other mortals by being turned into the flower we know today as the paeony.

The traditional floral symbol of China, the state flower of Indiana, and the 12th wedding anniversary flower, paeonies are known as the flower of riches and honor. With their lush, full, rounded bloom, paeonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage.

My paeonies were here in my garden when I moved in, more than 10 years ago, so I don’t know what they are called. I have looked at many pictures on the Internet to try to find my paeony, and it could possibly be Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt', but from the pictures I have seen, Sarah Bernhardt seems pinker than mine. My paeonies also range from pink to completely white on the same bush and although Sarah Bernhardt comes in a white version I don’t think it comes in white and pink flowers on the same bush. If you know which type of paeony I’ve got I would really appreciate a message from you :-)

The only trouble with paeonies is that they flower for such a short time. We wait a whole year for the flowers to open up, and after a week or so it’s all over and a whole year till next time. The foliage looks good for a long time though, green and lush into at least November depending on how cold winter we get.

That’s it for tonight, I’m heading out in the garden to save the 8 pots of lilies I have from falling over in the wind overnight - I can hear the wind howling already. Not sure how many times the pots have blown over already, poor lilies, but I can’t plant them out yet, not until they have started flowering as I need to see which colours they are going to turn out. I bought a bag of mixed lily bulbs, and it’s anybody’s guess which colour they will have. I am hoping for some white, some pink and some orange, and each will go to separate places in the garden where they will fit in with the colour scheme. If I planted them out now, you could be sure I ended up with an orange lily in between pink flowers! Hurry up and flower, lilies, it’s about time! Until next time, take care.


  1. I've always been used to seeing it spelt as 'paeonies' too. Whether it's 'ae' or just 'e', yours are absolutely spectacular! If I ever move to live in a more temperate climate these would be top of my must-have-in-the-garden list! How fortunate you were to have these already established in your garden. Hope those Lilies were OK!!!

  2. Good Morning. Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Details at Congratulations.

  3. since they are unidentified, you could always give them a name that fits their pale pink Paeonic beauty. What lovely plants to inherit - no matter how its spelt.

  4. Ah, Helene your post made me smile as I was saying the same thing some time back. I still feel uncertain and at times find myself spelling it one way and then the other. Your, err, Peonies are indeed very beautiful whatever their names may be.

  5. Oh, I just love peonies, and yours are beautiful! I'm used to spelling it without the 'a', but what's a little vowel between bloggy friends, eh?

    They look JUST like my Sarah Bernhardt peonies, I have to say. So maybe that's what they are? Mine bloomed about a month ago and I didn't get pictures up. I'll try to do that.

    They do also have nice foliage color in fall, so there's that, too.




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