Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

●● PEONY

This beau­ti­ful blousy bloom may be fairly short­lived but makes a state­ment in early sum­mer in any gar­den, in colours rang­ing from deep red to baby pink, yel­low and cream.

Its huge flow­ers should be com­bined with plants that have many smaller flow­ers such as cat­mint or Al­chemilla mol­lis. Pe­onies are easy to grow, although they do need shel­ter from the wind.

They thrive where the early morn­ing sun­rays miss them, so that any buds that have been frosted overnight have a chance to thaw out slowly.

Grow them in mois­ture-re­ten­tive, but well-drained and fer­tile soil with plenty of added or­ganic mat­ter.

Plants will take a year or two to set­tle down but once they do they should keep go­ing for years.

Good va­ri­eties in­clude Paeo­nia of­fic­i­nalis ‘Rubra Plena’ and the cream-coloured ‘Duchesse de Ne­mours’.

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