I have planted thousands and thousands of plants. Thousands of bulbs, thousands of vegetables, thousands of annual flowers. And well maybe hundreds of perennials and shrubs. And a few dozen trees. But peonies just always seemed too grown up. Maybe it was May Sarton’s description of planting a peony in her book Plant Dreaming Deep. Peonies supposedly hate transplanting — I can’t testify, because I never have and don’t know anyone who has. They’re one of the longest lived perennials. Basically you put them in the ground, and they stay put for decades. I know the peonies at the Garden of Union were the one perennial that stood there ground for the 20 years I gardened there. I moved on, and the peonies are still there.
But today I bought my first peony. And I intend to plant it in the front garden. It feels like the time I ordered my first martini– which was on my 40th birthday. I’ve grown up. And can now be a little dissolute even. Because face it, there’s no more dissolute flower than a peony. Big, blowsy, and fragrant — only tuberoses are more dissolute.