Myths about peonies

It has been said that an established peony plant will not survive transplantation.  I remember that there were three or four red peonies in the garden of my childhood home.  One of them was not where Mum wanted it. She dug it up and gave it away several times; part of the tubers remained in the ground and it came up again.  As far as I know the donated peonies thrived.


I also remember a set of postage stamps from China with all sorts of peonies depicted on them.  I imagined they were a native flower, but a quick look in a dictionary of garden flowers indicated that they come from various parts of Asia not only from China.

Peony flowers
Peony flowers

The ones in my pictures have been transplanted successfully.  A neighbour was throwing plants out, but hubby rescued them.  These pictures were taken at the beginning of the month.  The first one was too late in the evening and the petals had closed for the night.

It is not a myth that an alternative spelling is paeony.  (Useful in Scrabble, perhaps.)

The flowering plants in the background are an unusual true geranium (cranesbill).  Pelargoniums are often know as geraniums, but they are completely different.  When I showed a friend around our garden and pointed out our geraniums, her surprise was obvious.  Most people think of pelargoniums, when they hear the name geranium.  One thing both have in common is a distinctive smell!

Can you guess which of these photos was taken the other way up?



C is for Clematis

This is my post for the letter C in the revised A to Z challenge.

The clematis of my childhood grew in a small square of earth, surrounded by a very low retaining wall and crazy paving.  It was able to climb the wooden post by the front door of our house.  The flowers were a deep purple.  Each year Mum used to prune it back to about one foot above the ground.  One year the pruning was possibly more severe.  It never grew again.  Later the post was replaced by a storm porch.

Clematis plants like to have their roots in shade, but to be able to grow into sunlight.  Hubby has constructed a frame for our clematis plants on the shady side of our garden.  We have a few different species, but the first to flower and the most prolific is the Montana shown in the picture.  It has the nickname a mile a minute, because its shoots spread so quickly.


This photo was taken as I was on my way to meet a friend.  I noticed that the sun was shining on it and turned back to find a good spot to capture it.

There have been a number of enthusiastic gardeners in Mum’s family.  Her father grew flowers and vegetables even into old age.  Each generation seems to have at least one gardener.  Since hubby retired I have done less practical gardening, but he asks me for advice about plants and weeds.  A weed is defined as a plant in the wrong place.  Many people would not cultivate the plants we do, although wild flowers are good for the environment.  Not everything thrives here.  Tender plants do not survive in strong winds.  When we arrived a neighbour advised me that you have to work with plants, which will grow, whether not not they are favourites.

Some other plants beginning with C, which grow in our garden are comfrey, cornflower (the perennial one), columbine (also known as aquilegia) and Californian poppy.  I associate the last one with my Grandad, mentioned earlier.  I know many people in the USA would consider it to be a weed, but the flowers are bright and set seed easily.

How do you distinguish between plants and weeds?  Are there gardeners in your family?