red flannel pantry

creative pursuits in the kitchen, garden, library and sewing room

Festiva Maxima peonies

IMG_1895There are so many flowers I love, but peonies, specifically, Festiva Maxima, are in my top 10.

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Festiva Maxima is an old-timey, long-lived peony. Mine are from divisions I took from peonies at our first house, which was built in 1904–who knows how old the original stock was. They need some time to get established after division, so they may not bloom the first year or two. But once established, they can bloom year after year for decades.

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They have lovely painterly flecks of crimson on their curved white petals.

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Although the weight of the flower head and buds can make them floppy, peonies do have sturdy stems and make great cut flowers. In fact, seeing them bent over provides an excuse to cut them and bring them inside! The reward: their glorious scent, which fills the house with a fragrant aroma.

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