Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blog Carnival day

My Little Garden in Japan is hosting a blog carnival today and has asked those interested to post about their favorite plant.

The Peony

I decided to do a little research on their history and have found some interesting facts I certainly never knew. It appears the peony started in China as plants were found as early as 1000 BCE. They were used for medicinal purposes. The roots, barks, seeds and flowers were all thought to have some medicinal benefit, for example, the bark cools the blood and may have antibacterial properties. It was only in the 7th century that peonies were grown for ornamentation. During the Tang dynasty, peonies were very popular in the imperial gardens and many commanded high prices. In fact they were used as part of a woman's dowry.

Chinese horticulturists developed the large double tree and herbaceous peonies and used grafting techniques to reproduce valuable cultivars.

Peonies were introduced into Japan about the 8th century. The Japanese preferred simpler forms and created what is known as the Japanese form; a rounded center made of small petals with wider petals surrounding this center.

Peonies are known to have made their way the Europe sometime before the middle ages, and again, the use was medicinal. Europeans brought peonies over to North America when they started settling here. We have always grown them for there ornamental beauty.
Both China and Japan have a long history of using the peony in their poetry, art and gardens.

I love peonies for their fragrance. I only buy fragrant ones or why else bother?

Many thanks go to La Pivoinerie D'Aoust for their information on peony history.


  1. I can't disagree with you on this one -- I think peonies remain my favorite more often than most other flowers. :)

  2. I have a newfound love of peonies this year as our new house purchase came with some very large specimens. I hadn't seen peonies since I was a kid and I was blown away by how large they really are and, as you note, their wonderful scent. It was great to get a little history lesson on them so I can appreciate them all the more.

  3. I can see why they were the subject of poetry and art - they are beautiful. You always do such a nice job of teaching the history of your subjects!

  4. I really enjoy peonies as well, and while I love my tree peonies, I am really excited about the new intersectionals... particularly Bartzella with its long period of bloom! Lovely photos! Larry

  5. Great entry and - of course - a great flower.

    I've always loved their even mix of elegance and exuberance. For obvious reasons the flowers get most of the attention, but I actually think the foliage is very pretty as well, so it looks great before and after the "main show".

  6. Great flower!
    Thank you for the informaiton, I didn't know that. Here in japan, they have a lot in the streets as an edge for the sidewalk. They look amazing all blooming and they smell as even better.

    Thank you very much for joining the carnival! this is a lovely flower

  7. Oh my, thank you all for the comments.

    Eliza- my mother grew big fat peonies and I have loved them ever since.
    Marguerite- How nice to have some along with the house. I wonder how old they are.
    Cat- Thank you. I had very little interest in history throughout school. I am surprised my new interest.
    LC- I have yet to try the tree peonies. The thought of a yellow flower intrigues me.
    Soren- yes the foliage is a bonus. It's a great background for many flowers.
    Fer- It is a great idea and very popular. Thanks again.

  8. Your Peonies are very beautiful, we have one named (My Pal Rudy) One year I moved it to what I thought was a better position and it has never bloomed as well as it previously did.Give Camellia Donation a try planting where it will not catch the early morning sun. Alistair

  9. Dear Patty, I am glad you visited my blog, so I was able to find yours. I love peonies. I just have to remember to stake them early! Your photographs are lovely. Pamela

  10. I think it is one of the favourite flower to grow in Japan. I usually saw them in any old established garden when I was living in Japan. Thank you for sharing. It is a lovely flower.

  11. Thank you Alistair, Pam and Malay -Kadazan for visiting the blog. The carnival is a great way to visit new blogs and perhaps make a friend or two.

  12. Hi Patty, I love your peonies. They are beautiful. I wish I could smell them. Does the red one has fragrance too?

  13. One - the red peony 'Falcon' has a very slight fragrance, a bit disappointing. Mind you I chose it mainly for the colour which never seems to come true no matter how often I photograph it. Falcon is more a deep burgundy red with a sheen.