Cheerleading For Frilly Flowers: Double Peonies

Pink peony

If ever a flower looked like it was wearing a petticoat, this is it. It’s hard to believe this bloom is only partially open. The yellow petals in the centre will gradually become more prominent, but I like the flower at this stage while the outer petals are still a pure pink, and are forming a protective cup around the inner petals.

White peony

The second peony has it all for me: I love the pearly character of the creamy white petals and the way those yellowy petals create an inner glow. 

Pink double peony

Double flowers don’t appeal to everyone. I love the way the mingled petals lighten in response to light and deepen where the petal folds create shade, creating a mix of colours.

I sometimes get comments from gardeners who prefer to grow single flowers, which tend to be more attractive to insects. I understand where they are coming from, but believe that there is room for all types of flowers; that anything that creates interest in gardening is, in general, good; and that more flowers, singles, semis and doubles, could be squeezed into most gardens, including every major garden I’ve ever seen.

Perhaps these peonies are a little on the frivolous side. They are excessive. And yes, peonies have a relatively short flowering season. Despite all that, I’m happy to be a cheerleader for them: imagine me, if you will, on the edge of the border, dancing and waving pom poms whenever I see them, because that’s what I’m doing inside.

40 Replies to “Cheerleading For Frilly Flowers: Double Peonies”

  1. I too believe there is room for all types of flowers and these peonies are fabulous, flamboyant and frivolous fillies! [… I am trying hard to put the image of you cavorting on the borders with pom poms in your hands out of my mind.]

  2. But the peonies ARE the pompoms! Oh, these are glorious! That creamy one is stunning, and of course the fat little bud peeking out from the pink is too cute. Cavorting is the only proper response, I’d say.

      1. I have inquired of Google about the Carry On series, so now I am qualified to agree with you: they missed something if they left out cavorting!

  3. I’m one of the not-keen-on-doubles brigade, my least favourite being double daffodils. However these peonies are a better bet in an extravagant kind of way.

  4. Frilly peonies are great! If you worry about not feeding the bees, do what I did and plant hardy geraniums around them. Looks good, and it seems to taste good too.

    1. Most of them like to be chilled in the wintertime. The old, tried and trusted ‘Festiva Maxima’ is the classic peony for the south – and a beautiful double one too. It’s white with a little splash of carmine in the centre.

  5. Oh I so totally agree with you on this. I love all kinds of peonies….the singles…the doubles….they are beautiful and smell divine! I used to have two doubles in my patio…one a huge pink called “dinnerplate” and the other a beautiful red called Red Charm. I still remember their names and miss them so. Thank you for the great blog and especially today about peonies. Last June I attended a wedding and the brides and bridesmaids bouquets were all peonies! Mmmmmm

    1. People might not imagine how much you can miss a plant unless they have left behind a garden they loved. At least you can hold them in your memory. As I mentioned above, peonies are my favourite flower for floristry. Their season may be short, but it’s perfect for June brides.

    1. Do I remember you saying you had a bouquet of them when you renewed your vows? Peonies weren’t around much in my earliest days – or at least, not that I remember. It’s roses that have old-time allure for me.

      1. I had peach-colored roses and lavender hydrangeas. 😀 Some friends brought me over this HUGE bouquet of peonies when I got out of the hospital. There was one kind in it I’d never seen before. I actually thought it was a rose, but Joy said it was, indeed, a peony!

        1. I knew it was made from some of my favourites. Roses are easy to mix up with peonies – I always check the foliage if I’m in any doubt.

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