Peony ‘Sweet Marjorie’

peony 'sweet marjorie'

Sweet Marjorie, an impulse justified

The thermometer hit 100 (not a misprint, one hundred) degrees on the porch yesterday. The peonies are in overdrive and ‘Sweet Marjorie’ is already fading, just days after the first bud opened.  But while she lasted she was lovely – proof that irrational impulses can sometimes be worth following.

After all, it’s basically stupid to get seduced by the name of a flower. Makes no more sense than buying wine because you like the label. But Marjorie was my sweet mother’s name. I bought one, even though I didn’t find the photo particularly exciting and it seemed unlikely there would be much in the way of fragrance.

That was 2 years ago, in the great Let’s Have More Peonies spree, and not surprisingly there were no flowers in 2009. It takes a while for peonies to get established. I wouldn’t have been upset if there weren’t any this year, either. But in fact there were  seven blossoms, each quite different from the other. Every one beautiful.

I got her from Klehm, the nursery where she was bred, and although I didn’t find her in this year’s online catalog, a quick check on the phone confirmed there are indeed plants for sale.

In this case a happy ending, along with a good reminder to ask for what you want before assuming it can’t be had. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. There are thousands of named cultivars, so there are always thousands “not currently available.”

And of course a lot of what is available is only available in limited quantities, so it’s best to shop early. Peonies don’t ship until fall, but nurseries reserve their stock on a first come first served basis, and  if you wait until closer to planting time you may be too late.

Peonies and I… well, let’s just say other peony posts include: shopping tips; my love affair with the beautiful, shade lovers found among species peonies; full directions for peony planting (along with quite a bit about the heirloom cultivars that came with the Hudson Valley house) and of course the truth about ants and peonies.

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  • We don’t know whether we have any Sweet Marjorie among the beautiful peonies you brought to us yesterday, but we are reveling in sweet fragrance and gorgeous blooms. We can hardly wait for the first of the tomatoes to come (all have been planted today, with tags to remind us which is which). Thank you for making our spring to (very early) summer so bright!

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