Friday, 20 May 2011

What a Bloomer!

Paeonia lactiflora 'Festiva Maxima'

One of the most beautiful peonies I have is 'Festiva Maxima'. It looks really stunning when in full bloom with it's large, multi-petal flowers. Again this year, it will have over eighty flowers. Each stem carries five to six flower buds, the central one being first to open.

This peony is rather high (about 1m) and I always circle it around with wire mesh before it starts to sprout in spring. As it grows through, the wire became invisible. It holds the stems together. Though the stems are strong and erect, the flowers are pretty large and heavy and I additionally stake every flower stem for better  support.

The noticeable fragrant flowers are pure white with occasional crimson flecks that occur mostly in the centre of the flower. This herbaceous peony is easy to grow and lives decades, sometimes up to a century! Place it in fertile, rich soil in sun and leave it undisturbed.

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