Perennials / spring flowers

Peony people are a passionate sort

tree peony Shimane Cho Juraka Garden Drama

Tree peony 'Shimane Cho Juraka'. Photo by Linette Sorrentino

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of interviewing two passionate peony gardeners, Linette and David, who garden on four acres near Chaska. You know how there are some people who make you feel better about the world, even on a snowy Minnesota day? These are two of them.

I am featuring them in my regular column, Obsessions, in the upcoming May/June issue of Northern Gardener. They taught me tons about growing peonies, but perhaps what I picked up most, was that passions are worth chasing. They make life richer and perhaps are our most noble pursuits in life. One definition of hobby is favorite occupation. Linette and David found it. Fervent focus on a beloved subject in our lives brings balance to all aspects of ourselves, I do believe.

Peony Susie Q Garden Drama

Peony 'Susie Q.' Photo by Linette Sorrentino. There is a Peony with a name to honor almost anyone in your life.

You have to wait for the May issue of Northern Gardener for the full story, but a couple of peony tidbits I garnered are:

  • There is a peony for any landscape need from big to small. Think beyond the floppy flowers in your Grandma’s garden, though those are lovely as well.
  • Peonies thrive in full sun, however the gorgeous tree peonies will love a little afternoon shade.
  • Most peonies are deliciously fragrant, but some stink! One even smells like dead fish. But for a lovely perfume, try ‘Myrtle Gentry’.
  • Deers and bunnies will leave peonies alone!
  • A well-tended peony can survive for 75 years or more. You may need to leave your beloved varieties in your will!

After our chat, I attended a session presented by the Minnesota Peony Society. The energy and enthusiasm in the room was palpable. Consider joining the society to co-mingle with and learn from the best. They have a peony auction in the fall that is a must-do. Check out their site.

Lesson learned… pursue you passions.

Fabulous photos are courtesy of Linette Sorrentino.

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