After we moved to the farm, the very first thing that we planted were peonies.  They are my favorite flower and I just can’t seem to get enough.  The multitude of ruffles, the sheer size of a single bloom and the sweet scent that they carry have all completely won me over.

Peonies are perennials and require very little care.  While they can be planted in the spring, they generally do best if planted in the fall as bare root plants.  I have found I have the very best luck when I buy from a reputable online retailer.  Therefore, I buy almost all of my bare root peonies from Holllingsworth or Song Sparrow Farm .  Once peonies are planted they will usually take a few years to get full and loaded with blooms.  In fact, cut flower growers wait three full years before they harvest any blooms (they cut buds off) so that the roots of the shrub get healthy and strong!  That way they get more blooms.  The ones we planted are now in their third year and each shrub was literally loaded with blooms.
Unfortunately, peony season is rather short lived.  To make the season last as long as possible, I’ve chosen varieties that bloom early, mid and late.  It’s a good stratagy but doesn’t always work as planned.  In fact, this year, we had two very warm days in a row and all the peonies seemed to blow at once!  
The colors, from the palest of pinks to the brightest of corals and fuchsias, are also to die for and all seem to compliment each other so much so that it’s easy to simply put a bunch in a vase without fussing or arranging anything at all! Peonies are so versatile that they can be formal or utterly casual in a vase.  I love using a vintage silver Loving Cup because the tarnished surface is the perfect foil for the pink peonies.  On the other hand, a vintage copper pitcher shows off the beautiful champagne color of this dinner plate sized peony.  And, of course, a plain white pitcher is always a perfect, and casual, vessel.
I’ve dotted the house with peonies, one or two blooms are just as beautiful as masses of them.  Their sweet scent can fill a room! 
As beautiful as the peonies are, they can’t really compare to our newest niece.  The peonies are happy to take the background on this one!