Peony Progression from Bud to Bloom

If you know me at all, you know I love peonies...and one of my favorite things to search for in spring are the tiny little peony points sticking up out of the ground.  They are a deep, bright maroon red and are actually a bit pointy when they first come out of the ground.  After a week or two, they start to stretch up to the sky and the tips open up a bit.

It is always a bit shocking to me when the vibrant red stalks turn completely green and look utterly different from the previous week's growth.  This is a transplanted peony, so it is small.  A typical established peony will have anywhere from 5-10+ of these stalks in a large circle that will grow straight up.

At this point in spring, the leaves are bright green and very glossy with a little red still left in the very center. 

When they bloom, they are a most glorious sight...layers upon layers of fluffy petals in shades of pink, red and white. 
SO girly!  ...and the smell is beyond divine...

After a few years in the ground, your peony will grow into a large, dark green plant with a rounded habit that does not need pruning.  The flowers are only one of the reasons I like peonies in my garden.  The other is their shape and habits.  Happily, my neighbor is getting rid of many of her perennials, so I am the mommy to a bunch of peony divisions (along with irises and roses and coneflowers and more to bulk up flower arrangements!).  Sadly, this summer has been a wet one so far and one of my peonies is suffering from a little blight.  See those few black edges?

What is blight??????
There are various diseases peonies can get, but my untrained eye tells me this is the botrytis fungus, as opposed to (what I would deem) the more serious phytophthora blight.  You can read HERE for more info if you need it.  Basically, I could spray the plant and put harmful chemicals into the soil and around my kids, or I could chalk it up to lots of rain and deal with the way it looks for the season and chop it all down in the fall.  I choose the latter.

Do you have this problem?  Do you still compost your peony leaves?


Torviewtoronto said…
hope you find a solution for it
love peonies it doesn't last long that is too bad
I also love peonies! We have two in our side yard. They bloom super early here. The ones I have came with the yard. This year I found some peony roots on deep discount. I decided to take a chance on them. I planted half of them on one side of my front stoop and the other half on the other side of the stoop. So far only one sad shoot has come up. I am hoping that is due to the climate and not the dismal state that the roots were in when I bought them. Yours are gorgeous! Enjoy them while they are around :D