Sunday, June 6, 2010

Peony Envy

I'm in Wisconsin right now and the peonies are popping like mad. They're everywhere and they're fabulous! A couple years ago, I tried to get peonies going in my little garden in France and it was a spectacular, expensive failure. (Note to Provence Post gardening guru James Clay: should I give up or try again? Is it just too hot?) Have any of you had great success with peonies in Provence? This particularly lovely bunch comes from one of my favorite gardening blogs, where Margaret Roach, who writes the blog, has some great tips for how to help your peonies along.


  1. I have no clue! It is similar to what I was trying to do: grow a rose garden in New Jersey. I'll keep trying and reading about roses, I guss you'd need to do the same thing, get some background on peonies.

  2. they are popping here as well... they are like gifts every morning... bursts of heaven... have a wonderful time... (wish you could come to seattle... would love to sit and chat with you for hours...) someday... for sure.
    xx pam

  3. Hi July, What a beatiful colours. I never saw the orange one. How nice that you are living in the Provence. Most of the year we are in France too. If you will join my blog you can read about our house and the village.
    Bye, Lilian

  4. Oh that orange/peach: I've never seen that before.
    It's too warm for them, right? Don't they need the cold winter/frost?
    A Way to Garden is also one of my favorites!

  5. Hi Julie, Having lived four years in Milwaukee, I know how beautiful the peonies are up there. When I moved there from Florida (reverse, right?), I saw them for the first time and they became my favorite flower. My sister-in-law grows beautiful peonies near Grenoble, but I have my doubts about planting them in the Gard and now after hearing about your experience, think "maybe not!". Do consult your friend and let us know. Hope you get to France soon!

  6. HiJulie:
    Since I am such a lousy gardener, I have found the best way to have peonies around the house is to buy them each week at one of the local markets here in Provence. One week recently I even found the salmon one in the photo (variety: Reine Hortensia). It's amazing: starts out that color and after fully opening turns white. We're back to Colorado this week where the peonies in my garden there will probably get around to blooming about July 4!
    XXOO, Bunny

  7. I just came back from the South of France and Peonies were in bloom the last week of May they were fabulous for sale in the markets very reasonably priced and around in gardens. I have not tried growing myself but I may after seeing them around. My guess is that they will grow well but it is a water issue, like everything else in the South.

  8. Peonies do great in Utah and it is SUPER hot in summer. I don't think the heat would be a problem.?
    Lovely post. I Adore peonies. Thank you for joining us :)
    Your blog is a delight :)

  9. So many coincidences, it's destiny: (1) We posted on peonies yesterday. (2) Margaret, who does A Way to Garden, is our neighbor; Eddie and she used to work together at Martha. (3) I'm heading to Wisconsin right now for my Dad's retirement, then Eddie's joining me for our Chicago events. We would LOVE to come see you in Provence!


  10. Peonies are in full blooming splendor around Paris these days. Maybe they don't like the mistral...

    The orangey blossom in your picture is striking. I had never seen this color before in peonies.

  11. I agree with Bunny....the flower markets are full of them right now and for an apartment dweller like me, this works! I was up in the Luberon this past weekend and the peonies were in full bloom and the air was delicious with their scent. Perhaps the climate is different enough up there.

  12. It is my absolute favorite flower..and hydrangeas too. I have never seen one in such a lustrious orange color. Thanks for sharing. I will need to try and grow some in Denver :)

  13. I agree, peonies are beautiful flowers..I've been buying them here at the market, but yet to add them to the garden - they seem very delicate, afraid to watch them wilt in the summer heat! Thanks for sharing the great gardening site as well...xx

  14. When you plant a Paeonia you should plant it not deeper than the soil that it is growing in. Usually planting too deep is the problem of not blooming. Furthermore Paeonias like to stay in one place for many years and grow best in well drained fertile clay. So this should be possible in the Provence.
    Be patient in the first year. They are absolutely fabulous once they start blooming.
    Greetz, Mariëtte

  15. I have just discovered Provence Post and I have never blogged nor know much about it. However, I was surprised to read the blog on Peony Envy. I wanted the subscriber to know that:

    "Yes, she can grow peonies in Provence. I have two different peonies that are growing in my garden in Haut Vaucluse. These have been flowering annually in May for about seven years now. Against all advice I have even transplanted them successfully. So the blogger must not give up."

    I have just come from Le Pontet in Avignon and a florist there is still selling lovely double paeonies - 25 June 10.

    Thank you for this great site,
    Maria Larkworthy


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