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Posts Tagged ‘peony and ants’

pink

Peonies are the aristocrats of the early summer garden. Such luscious, sensuous flowers! You would think that to achieve such beauty would require careful dedication from the gardener, but nothing could be further from the truth. A peony is no prima donna, but rather a sturdy survivor, hardy to USDA zone 2, drought resistant, and among the most long-lived perennials in the garden. I don’t have a wide assortment of peonies, but certainly no garden would be complete without a few representatives of this praise-worthy plant.

Peonies come in a range of colours, from yellow, coral, peach and lavender to pinks and reds. Coincidentally, most of my peonies are some shade of pink. I added the plant illustrated above just last summer, and it has produced a bouquet of sweet, gently pink blooms, tinted with just a hint of darker fuchsia.

ants

Peonies are often associated with ants, who are attracted by the sweet sap or nectar exuded on the flower buds. Popular mythology has it that ants “tickle the buds” or “lick the sugar” to help the buds open, but in fact the buds would open just the same without the ants, who are neither helpful nor harmful, but just looking for a sweet treat.

pinker

I moved the darker pink peony shown above from my garden at my former home when we moved to Willow House. The peony plants from which it was divided were already mature when we bought our first house and bloomed faithfully every spring for the more than thirty years that we lived there. I estimate the plants were over 50 years old, so this is certainly an older cultivar rather than a modern hybrid.

The peony below was in the overgrown garden when we arrived at Willow House. It had competed with weeds and grasses and continued to bloom each year in spite of the tribulations of neglect. It completes this set of pinks that represent gardens past, present and future.

pinkest

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