A Month of Peonies

Over the past few weeks the peonies have been beautiful. First the bright frilly pinkish red ones in the middle of May…


Then the simpler pink one, a couple of weeks later…


… and now the big fluffy perfumed white ones, tightly closed…


…just opening…


… and in full glory!


Can you smell them? The whole garden is bathed in peony fragrance, and the house too since some of them had to be cut. (They get so top heavy despite staking.)

The last one to open is a new one to my garden, the only one I thought I could name… it has, however, no resemblance to its label! Still, it’s very pretty. It might possibly be “Bowl of Cream”. It is standing up to the heat extremely well, and also has a lovely perfume.


Do you have a favourite fragrance in your garden?

40 thoughts on “A Month of Peonies

  1. I like the white peonies especially the one with the tiny trace of crimson. I have many perfumed plants, it is always a major consideration when I choose plants. Today the Trachelospurum is still spreading its intense perfume and also true jasmin and a little honeysuckle (I think I like this the most)

  2. I really do think peonies are spectacular, Cathy. They don’t grow well in Southern California, but occasionally I see them in floral bouquets and I just drool! I can’t even say that I know the fragrance! I feel deprived. 🙂 My favorite garden fragrance is gardenia. I have several bushes and they do very well in our heat!

    • I suppose the fragrance is like a sweet rose – very rich and heady. Gardenia doesn’t like our climate, so I’m not familiar with it. The peonies have virtually gone over in the heat of the last few days – a heatwave that has today ended in heavy storms, thank goodness. Much too hot for me and my garden!

  3. I love your peonies, I only grow one a blousy pink Sarah Bernhadt that my mum gave me 12 years ago, the first head started to open yesterday, its later here than for you and without fail as soon as she opens we have heavy rain. Currently my favourite fragrant plant is Dianthus dinetta, which smells of cloves, I cant get enough of it!

    • I’ve seen that peony – beautiful! Cut some before it gets rained on and bring them indoors! I love Dianthus too. I have Dianthus barbata flowering at the moment (Sweet Williams).

  4. Lovely images, Cathy! As for scent, I adore Chimonanthus praecox, Reseda odorata, Rosa Brenda Colvin (and many more roses of course), Matthiola… 🙂

  5. Your peonies are stunning Cathy, mine are just opening here so I have some lovely flowers and perfumes still to come. At the moment the regal lilies are perfuming the garden, along with Philadelphus and honeysuckle. Roses too contribute their perfume in the morning and evening, after all, what is a rose without perfume?!

  6. I love your peonies. I have four different sorts peonies that were bought for me from a good nursery and have still not flowered after four years. Some day I hope they’ll flower.

    • One of my new ones isn’t flowering yet, but the first three I showed were all given me from mature tubers and flowered spectacularly the first year! I hope yours flower next year then!

  7. Ours are nearly done, but every now and then, I catch their scent as I work outside…the overwhelming perfume of the moment is the wild roses (this is the only time of the year that I can’t bring myself to rip them up!)
    Love your peonies – you planned well for a long bloom-time 🙂

    • I must admit to it being happy coincidence rather than planning! 😉 We don’t have wild roses, but we do have elderflowers blooming up in the woods and when I open the back door the scent is delicious!

  8. I moved my peonies this Spring…out of necessity, and held my breath that they made the move without sacrificing their bloom this year. They appear to have done well, though the buds haven’t opened yet. Yours are beautiful!

    • Thanks Cindy. It seems that once established they don’t mind being moved – mine all flowered the first year after planting and came from old-established plants. Hope yours put on a good show for you!

  9. You have some beautiful peonies, are they a favourite flower of yours? There’s only one in the garden here – left by the previous owner, but I’ve never noticed a fragrance. I’ll have to go out and have a sniff of it now!

    • I’ve never thought of them as a favourite, but I do look forward to them so much. They seem to mark stages in the late spring and early summer. The early ones hardly smell at all, but the later white ones are incredible!

  10. I like peonies. Unfortunately they don’t last long. But you’re right the smell is wonderful. I also like the smell of roses.

    • Hi Simone. Yes, often we have heavy rain to spoil the flowers, and this year the heat has taken its toll, but if you have a few different sorts like me you can have peonies for six weeks!

  11. My all-time-fragrance is gardenia. They don´t grow in Northern Germany. The next flowers to come are jasmin and sweat pea. Our peonies still scent a little bit. 🙂

    • Three were given me when we first moved here, and two new ones have been added recently, but only one of the new ones has flowered. It is lovely to have such large blooms over several weeks before the summer flowers open.

  12. I adore peonies and only buy them at the local Farmer’s Market. What a glorious spring garden! My favorite fragrance in the garden is lavender. Once established it doesn’t need much water during our dry California summers.

  13. Absolutely lovely Cathy! I can almost smell them. Fragrance is so important in the garden. I love to go smell the roses whenever I get the chance, it is very worthwhile.
    It is such a delightful time of year, a pleasure to the senses for sure.

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