Posted by: debrakolkka | June 3, 2011

My peony

Peonies are my absolute favourite flowers. There is no way I could grow one in Brisbane, but I have a crimson peony in a pot on my balcony in Bagni di Lucca. In winter I take the pot to the garden of my friend Rina, where it is more sheltered. As soon as the weather warmed up in spring I brought it home to watch it grow.

the first shoots

back home on the balcony

A few days on and the progress is amazing.


the duck keeps an eye on them – sometimes

While we were away in Spain the plant grew like crazy.

after 2 weeks in Spain

The buds appeared a week later.

baby peonies

I can’t wait

A week later and the buds are growing.

flower buds

almost a peonie

At about this stage it stalled and didn’t seem to go anywhere for ages. Ants attacked the flower buds and I blasted them with pest spray.

still a bud

ants attack the peony

One of the flowers finally opened the day before I left Bagni di Lucca. It wasn’t as good as usual, but it wasn’t too bad. I wonder if the others will open.

finally it opened

isn’t it lovely?

better late than never

I’ll have to read up on peonies before next spring. The flowers on other bushes were the size of dinner plates, so I must be doing something wrong. Any suggestions out there?

March 2019. This peony now lives at our mountain house, Casa Debbio. It is thriving! The first year after its move about 6 years ago it grew, but produced no flowers. The next year there were a few. Last spring it gave us about 60 blooms! It my favourite peony out of the 65 growing in the garden.


  1. Clever you, they are lovely. The colour is devine.

    • It is a beautiful colour. I missed it completely last year. It didn’t flower before we left. I just caught it this year.

  2. One thing you should never do: get rid of the ants on peonies! They actually help the plant. Check it out. xox,Anna

    • Thanks for that. I thought they were going to eat it, so I sprayed them. I won’t do it again.

  3. Hehe I think the duck is a big fan of the peonies too! 🙂

  4. Love the color! Mine are a pale pink. Still just small buds as we have a late summer. First day over 70 degrees since last fall is due tomorrow! So glad you had the chance to see it bloom this year!

    • Hopefully I will do better next year. The first year the flowers were magnificent, last year I missed the flowers, this year OK, but not great, next year – wonderful.

  5. Fascinating to see in sequence how the red shoots transform into a green plant producing a beautiful crimson peony. Yes, they are truly striking flowers. Your photos capture beautifully the growth stages including the ants! I will always remember a field of white peonies growing wild in Ft Wayne years ago, an indelible memory for me along with admiring the dogwood and lilac trees during the American Spring. May your dream come true to produce a peony the size of a dinner plate :))

    • I think I will have to wait until I plant peonies at Vergemoli to get really big ones. I will certainly be trying.

  6. Beautiful! My husband just got back and thinks he met some of your friends! Lovely Australian ladies celebrating a birthday…he said it was really nice area. Wish us luck in getting something!

    • There were three friends staying ot our place last week. I think thery spent a fair bit of time in the piazza, so I’m not surprised your husband met them. I hope you find something wonderful.

  7. Beautiful shots.

  8. Firstly what a wonderful photo study! I love the peony too and just relived all those magic moments sharing in the development of yours!

    Probably being in a pot makes the plant offer you smaller flowers. I have read that peonies don’t like being disturbed, but it might be worth repotting into a bigger pot at some point. My white peonie is just coming out now, my early pink ones have finished. The ants don’t seem to do any harm, they don’t bring aphids on to the peonies in my garden, though they bring loads on to the cardoons and artichokes (grrr). There is one called Molly the Witch which I want to grow one day. Lovely article about it here

    • Thank you for your kind comments – and helpful suggestions. I will repot the peony before next spring. I would expect smaller flowers in a pot, but it seemed to be doing so well, then it sort of faded.

  9. Beautiful photos, Debra. Here you will find some excellent advice from an expert on peonies:

    • Thank you for that. I will read up on peonies before next spring.

  10. So beautiful. I can smell it from here.

    • Peonies are the most heavenly flowers. I love them.

  11. I love peonies too – just very occasionally you can buy them in Brisbane – bit like hens’ teeth though. That funny pouty little bud was just playing coy and then it really flounces and shows off doesn’t it.

    • They are very expensive to buy in Brisbane and they last about 2 days, but they are very special.

  12. I love them too. They grow well in Germany and I love the one on your balcony! I also love them in white. My peonies in the garden haven’t flowered yet which is now late but I await to see them bloom.

    • I love any coloured peony. The pale ones are so delicate and beautiful. I hope yours put on a good show.

  13. Oh Deb these are my absolute favourite flowers too!! We can get them in Sydney for about 2 weeks in early spring from the Blue Mountains, probably the only place cold enough for them to grow, that is actually close to Sydney! How lucky you were to see at least one of them flower for you before you left! I didn’t know you could fit so many in a pot!! Thanks for sharing, Deb

    • The plant was quite big and grew very quickly. I hope to do better next year armed with better information.

  14. They’re beautiful! I love watching plants develop. Nice to see that progression in your photos.

  15. […] anything be more beautiful? Click here to see my Bagni di Lucca peony, and here for Lucca peonies and here for St Tropez peonies. […]

  16. Wow, its amazing….it just needs some love and caring to grow up.

    • I hope it does well next year.

  17. […] window boxes and on the bridge at Ponte a Serraglio.  Click here to see more on the pansies and here for my solitary peony.   my pansies on the […]

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: