Now, when you're told something is 'old fashioned' or 'not in vogue', do you walk on by? No, of course not, after all 'vintage' is all the rage isn't it? Hence, I scooped up two fabulous little pewter vessels last week at our local thrift store, Re-loved. Something I can never have too much of are flower holders and I instantly fell for the simple design and dull patina on these English pewter pieces, the perfect foil for my 'unfashionable' peonies. And back to that, how can a flower as heavenly as a peony ever lose favour? I don't really understand horticultural fashion, I just know what I love and peonies tick every box in my book. After my bargain bunch at the market, I've set to thinking about how I can improve my crop at home. Last year I had four or five blooms, this year it looks as though it's only going to be the one. No doubt the chickens scratching my precious 'Duchesse de Nemours' as she poked her head through the soil didn't help her cause. So you can imagine my delight when I visited my friend Camilla's kitchen garden, the two peony beds resplendent with big, beautiful blooms. Luckily for me she had her scissors to hand and I'm now the proud owner of several 'duchesse' flower heads - pictured here in my pewter cup and vase. Their heady fragrance is filling the house with the scent of summer. And I'm more determined than ever to find the right growing spot for some more of these beauties.
Featured in this month's 'Martha Stewart Living' magazine is peony farmer Kathleen Gagan, owner and founder of Peony's Envy. If only I were closer I'd be heading straight over to Kathleen's New Jersey farm for some words of advice and several plants! Interestingly, Kathleen settled on peony farming because of their beauty, deer-resistance and low-maintenance, sounds like three very good reasons to be planting them in our little corner of Dorset. Maybe I can convince our landlord to rent me a piece of the woodland right here on our doorstep ;) xxx