When I first saw peonies blossoming in GGC VP Janie Clark’s garden, I actually gasped. No photograph can do justice to the glory of a peony at its peak. Soon I saw peonies in many of the Garden Club members’ gardens I visited. Each has its own particular character, color, and beauty.
To add to their perfection, their aroma is heavenly.
A wonderful peony story comes from Ruth Ann Eastman and begins a long time ago. In the late 1890’s Albertine and Andreas Bjorn immigrated from Denmark to America and settled in Barre, Vermont. Andreas bought and planted peonies as a gift to Albertine to celebrate the birth of their daughter in 1910. This wasn’t a single plant but a twenty foot row of them. The Barre family homestead was passed down to Ruth Ann’s late husband Andy’s parents and later to Andy and Ruth Ann in 1999. The inheritance included the house, the barn, and the peonies. When Andy and Ruth Ann moved to Grantham in 2000, they transplanted the peonies to their garden. It was quite a chore digging up eleven clumps of peonies and untangling the roots but was well worth the effort for the twenty years and counting that the peonies have continued to bloom each June. According to Ruth Ann “They seem to like it here in Grantham.” Andreas must have purchased a hearty bunch of peonies which he and his descendants obviously took proper care of them for them to last over one hundred years.
If you’re inspired to purchase peonies, bear in mind that they may take a few years to blossom but then they will bloom for the rest of your life.
*If you google peonies, you’ll learn that when ants feast on the nectar that the peony buds produce, they protect the buds from harmful insects. So I apologize to the helpful ants for deleting them from my pictures.