I made two discoveries today. Whilst photographing this peony I was aware of a persistent buzzing which I tracked down to a nest box. Last year it was home to a family of Great Tits, this year it's a bee hive! I think they are Honey Bees. I couldn't stop watching them. They actually hovered round the hole, queuing up, waiting for a bee to leave before another one went in. They noticed me watching and started to circle round so I left them to it!
The second discovery was the fact that these two peonies are different species. Because they are the same colour and in different parts of the garden I didn't notice they were different shapes.
A few years ago a lovely National Trust gardener gave me a small tree peony for free after I enthused about a large plant in her care. It is now two feet tall and about to flower for the first time. Hopefully it will produce seeds. Apparently it takes two years to progate from seeds as they need two cold periods before germination is complete. I've always increased my stock by dividing the roots but I want to try growing seeds now I've read about it.
Well now my interest has been picqued: I have been to Claire Austin's site. I read an article about her a while ago ... her father, David Austin, started the peony and iris collections but decided to concentrate on his roses. Claire stepped in and took over the plants he didn't want. She has a huge variety on offer. Another site I visited was Bennison Peonies. They have an open day this weekend and they are not very far away so a visit is in order.
I'll have to save up before I visit Kelways Nursery though ... they have a very rare salmon pink peony for £199.
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Here is a link to The Peony Society