The tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa variety?) flower you see above is about seven inches in diameter (7”!), undoubtedly the largest flower in my garden. The plant was a gift many years ago from a gardening friend, and this is the first year that it has lived up to its potential. I’ve recently learned that tree peonies take five to eight years to mature, so I guess it’s right on track! My plant dies back almost to the ground each winter; now I know to cover it with compost and leaves in the fall to give it a jump start on new spring growth. I often cut the flowers and bring them indoors to enjoy because they are so heavy that they droop pitifully on the shrub and can barley be seen at all.
The other photos are of herbaceous single peonies (Paeonia lactiflora), variety unknown, that are a joyous and exuberant celebration of June! I spied these while out and about in a lovely Littleton garden. Check out the “inhospitable” growing conditions!