In praise of peonies

Fuschia-pink peonies in full bloom. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I hope you have all been enjoying some warm sunshine these past few days. The temperature has shot up in the UK and we have all been experiencing long, hot, summer days, and records have been broken every day this week.

I am away from home this week and I know that when I return at the weekend, the lush garden I left behind last Saturday will probably be looking less so. This week’s post is a look back at one of my favourite garden flowers, the peony, which I captured before I headed away.

Sunlight through peony petals. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

There are 4 varieties of peony in the back garden. All have the delightful sweet fragrance that these blooms are renowned for, and to me, they are one of the quintessential old-fashioned blooms of  and established flower garden.

I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Peonies and foxgloves. Image: Kathryn Hawkins


4 perfect peonies. Images: Kathryn Hawkins



Green fruits and shoots

The last day of the month is the time for me to catch up with how the garden produce is coming along.

The weather, here in Perthshire this month, has been a real mixed bag. A few sunny days along with some pretty miserable and wet ones. We have had several blustery winds and a couple of much cooler nights. All that said, the garden is looking good.

I keep a sowing and planting diary from year to year, and take a few pictures of the garden each month in order to keep a progress record. Compared to previous times, most of my edibles are at about the same stage as usual, but the runner beans and potatoes seem to be a bit more advanced – fingers crossed, I may get an earlier harvest! The fruit trees are bearing much more fruit than ever before as they become more established in the garden – last year was a poor season with no apples on the miniature trees, only a handful of plums and a solitary pear. I have much higher hopes for this year’s harvest.

From top left: Concorde pears; miniature “Solo” apple tree; Glen Ample raspberries, Hinnonmaki Red gooseberries. From bottom left: Brodie F1 Brussels sprouts; Scarlet Emperor runner beans; and in the greenhouse: Gardener’s Delight tomatoes, and Beth Alpha cucumber

My favourite flower bed at this time of year is full of colour, fragrance and delicate petals. It is home to a combination of peonies, Welsh poppies, white and blue campanulas and foxgloves. Sadly the flowers often get windblown and damaged by heavy rain, but there has been nothing too destructive so far.

I have managed to capture a little of its beauty in the image below.

My favourite flower bed. Image copyright: Kathryn Hawkins

I adore peonies; their perfume is quite overwhelming – I only wish I could post the aroma via my blog. I inherited 4 varieties in this bed, they were very well established when I got here. I have no idea of their varieties, but these are my favourites. They have bloomed without fail for the 12 years I have had the garden; I hardly ever do anything by way of maintenance, except give them an occasional feed.

Peony perfection. Image copyright: Kathryn Hawkins