Most people are familiar with the Herbaceous peonies that lose their leaves in winter.
In our garden , we do have several traditional peonies, but the true stars of our spring garden are the Tree peonies, otherwise known as Chinese tree peonies.
Hardy in most of the U.S. (zones 4-9), tree peonies need a bit of space. They will grow large when happy, reaching the size of a shrub or even larger. Tree peonies do lose their leaves in winter, but their woody stems remain and form dazzling sculptures when covered with snow.
They prefer sun, but not a whole day of it. To keep the blooms the longest amount of time, dappled shade would be perfect. They should not be planted close to a tree as the tree would rob the generous root system of its needed nutrients.
Most blooms open up to 6″-10″ saucers. Besides their gorgeous colors, they also smell delightful. Their scent is rather green, multi-layered, fresh and a combination of a fruity/rose aroma. Its scent is delicate yet strong.
Their flower petals are too delicate to offer up enough oils to use in perfumery, so if one is smelling a perfume with peony listed as a note, it is an interpretation that draws on a combination of other flowers to mimic the gauzy translucence of the peony petal’s aroma.
This tree peony that is over six feet tall.
Here are a few of this year’s blooms. Needless to say, our garden smells delightful!
From bud to bloom: