A Walk Down Peony Lane


         One of the rewarding things about gardening is the legacy of loveliness you can leave for future generations.   Gardening requires patience as often it takes years to establish something.  You might have moved on to a different house or a different life before you see the fruits of your labor, but future generations will stop and bless you when they see the end result, (and part of the pleasure of blogging is sharing these small doses of beauty).  peonies


           Every June when I was working I would drive by this old house on my daily commute and admire the rows of flowers flanking both sides of a long narrow driveway.  peonies The house was on the outskirts of a small town, which must have been farmland at one time due to it’s deep lot and wide expanse of front lawn.   Being a novice gardener and knowing next to nothing about flowers, one day I decided to stop and inquire what kind of shrubs they were. peonies

        I parked on the side street and knocked on the back door.  An elderly gentleman answered, wiping his hands on a towel as I had interrupted his preparations for lunch.   Peonies, he said, and if I wanted some I was welcome to dig them up.    He had often thought about tearing them all out, but his wife liked them.   His father had planted them seventy or eighty years ago.    I quickly pleaded with him not to do so, as I and many people driving by had the pleasure of looking at them every year.   peonies

peonies           I never went back in the fall to dig them up, but the next time I was at a nearby nursery I asked the owner for some peony bushes just like Mr. Peony Lane’s.   She was familiar with the house, so I requested one medium pink and one darker one, expecting to wake up to a riot of color in the spring.  

 The following year when mine flowered,

my pale pink peonies
my pale pink peonies

 two pale things appeared.   I know some people like a whitish garden, but I crave color.   Although I was disappointed, they were nice in their own way and did so well that I left them and every year they flower, faithfully, because that’s what peonies do!   

peonies Postscript:  Should you wish to take a walk down peony lane, the video below was taken this past June while driving through the town.  (It is my first time posting video so it may or may not work, so I posted lots of pretty pictures).   Lest you think I am the kind of person who randomly invades other peoples property, I only ventured a short distance up the lane and tried to focus on the bushes using the zoom lens.   I considered knocking on the door, but my initial visit was ten years ago, and I wasn’t sure the elderly man still lived there, plus I had my mother in the car who was tired from an afternoon out.   It was a lovely early June day, sunny and warm but with a nice breeze, the kind of day you wish would stay all year.   It was cool under the shade of those giant trees – peonies like sun, but will tolerate light shade – a perfect vista of a summer day.   Maybe next fall, I will take a shovel and go back….        


12 thoughts on “A Walk Down Peony Lane

  1. rhc55 says:

    The video played perfectly. What beautiful photos, I’ve never seen so many peonies in one place, it is glorious. I also love peonies (as does Chomeuse who had them in her wedding bouquet), having grown up with them in our old family garden. When I bought my first house I dug up a tuber/root (?) and planted it in my new garden and did the same when I moved to my second house, then to my third after I married and then to my present house. I read somewhere that they don’t like being transplanted but I never had any trouble. I love the fact I have peonies (as well as many other plants) from my old family home and was also able to give my mother tubers back when she herself moved. (Most of mine are deep red but I have one white Japanese – or at least that’s what we always called it – peony.) A lovely blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thehomeplaceweb says:

      Thank you! What a nice idea. I may go back in the fall and visit whoever lives in the house. How big a root do you need to dig up? I was struck by how old the bushes were and the idea that someone had planted so many of them (or maybe they multiplied) 70 or 80 years ago, although I suspect the ones nearest the street might have been a newer strain. They certainly are a glorious sight.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rhc55 says:

        I don’t think you need a huge root, but obviously the bigger the better. I’m not a good gardener and certainly did nothing scientific when I took roots, but have looked on the internet and found the following:
        Peonies should be divided in the autumn.
        Remove the foliage and lift the clump carefully.
        Gently remove or wash off the soil to expose the roots and growth buds.
        Using a sharp knife, remove sections of the crown with at least three dormant growth buds each and roots attached.’
        Now I know what to do when we get round to down-sizing and move house. I shall certainly take cuttings of my old and favourite plants with us. If peonies aren’t harmed by being split, hopefully the present occupants may be agreeable to letting you have a cutting.


  2. Dave says:

    Love the first paragraph. Your words are inspiration, that my wife’s recent foray into indoor plants/bushes/flowers – and simply keeping them alive – will evolve into more adventurous efforts outside the house someday.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. HappyHauteHome says:

    Those peonies are stunning! I so hope the gentleman doesn’t take them down,I’m sure many people enjoy seeing them. And your pale pink ones are lovely as well. I want to plant a few this year and hope they will bloom for next year. Thanks for sharing the video!

    Liked by 2 people

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