Did someone comment that it would be okay if I posted more pictures of my peonies? That’s good, because I fully intend to.
Did you know that the peony (Paeonia) is the state flower of Indiana? Yes, even though the peony isn’t a native flower, (it’s from Asia) the Indiana General Assembly voted in 1957 to make it the state flower. Before that, from 1931 to 1957, the state flower was the zinnia. The zinnia is also not native to this area of the country, so being a native flower clearly isn’t a requirement to be the state flower in Indiana.
I think the reason the peony is our state flower is because nearly every old farm or house has some peonies blooming in the yard. It’s a very long lasting perennial and it’s easy to dig and divide and share with others in the fall.
I suspect that most farmers and gardeners got their peonies (or “piney’s” as some old-timers call them, or "pennies" as others incorrectly call them) in the same way that Elizabeth Lawrence got many of her plants, by divisions sold for pennies (pun intended?) or just exchanged from one farmer or gardener to another. (You are reading something by Elizabeth Lawrence and planning to post about it for the Garden Bloggers Book Club virtural meeting on May 31st, aren’t you?)
My favorite peony is the unnamed variety that my Dad grew in his garden. I rescued them about six years ago and planted them in my garden. It’s the peony you are about to see pictures of below. I do have some store bought peonies, too, but they are slower in blooming, and to me they aren’t as pretty as these. One is white, the other dark pink and they don’t have as many petals as this one I got from my Dad’s stand of peonies.
My personal, unbiased opinion is that these peonies are particularly big and beautiful this year, probably because we’ve had plenty of rain and a cool spring.
But they could be even bigger if I had removed the side buds a few weeks ago. My Dad always removed the side buds on his peonies so just the main flower bud on a stem bloomed. He showed us how to do it so we could help. As a result, he’d have peony blooms as big as our heads for us to take to our teachers.
And some years we would cut the peonies to take with us when we visited our grandparents on Memorial Day weekend. Then we’d tour through several different old cemeteries and leave some peonies at the gravesites of greats and great-greats and great-great-greats while getting a lesson on our family history.
Now that you know a bit about the history of my peonies, I hope you’ll stay just a minute or two longer and see some more pictures of them.
A peony bud about to open.
A group of peonies at various stages of opening.
A peony in my hand to show you how big the flowers are.
A peony in the rain this evening.
A peony yesterday morning.
A peony mid-afternoon yesterday.
A peony in the evening yesterday.
Thanks for 'staying' with this post long enough to enjoy my peonies. I'm just sorry you can't smell them, too.
Peony for your thoughts?