The last of the full-petaled peonies

It's all over but the deadheading. After an 11 month-long anticipatory period, the peonies are pretty much finished.

Aside from building individual tents, there was nothing to be done to save them; most were in their full blown prime. I picked as many as I could, appreciating them up close in full-to-the-brim vases.

You can't make big bodacious bouquets of peonies unless you have several mature and healthy plants. Lucky for me, I have a few dozen, only two of which are less than two seasons old. I might pick a flower from a young plant, but I'll do it as soon as it begins to open, and will cut a stem of only a few inches. The reason is that new plants need as much green as they can get to build up their root system through photosynthesis. Many new plants might send up as few as two stems their first year, and you certainly don't want to remove either of them.

One of my favorites for cutting is of an unknown variety that was here when we moved in. It's a huge soft pink double. Another of my favorites is the old-fashioned variety called 'Chestine Gowdy'. In the photo above, 'Chestine Gowdy' is the one in the center - pale pink with deeper pink flecks.
The deep pink is 'Dayton', the pale flowers 'Chestine Gowdy' and 'The Fawn', and the red is a somewhat late 'Red Charm'.

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