Fern Leaf Peony

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I have coveted this fern leaf peony for years. It grew in front of a delapidated house down the street. The house was rented for years but the original owner must have loved gardens. Some lovely plants still survived between the weeds.  This peony was the queen of the abandoned garden. Its bright red flowers and delicate leaves hovered above the weeds like exotic specimens. I tried to speak to the renters about this plant but never managed to meet them. Then, late last fall,  I was driving by and saw workers tearing down the house. I stopped my car and ran up. They were very kind to this strange, overly excited lady. They stood around the peony in a circle helping me to dig it out. Well, here it is this spring! It’s looking remarkably healthy. I only wish I could share my joy with the original owner.

Paeonia tenuifolia comes from the Caucasus Mountains, north of the Black Sea in the Ukraine as well as Romania an Serbia. Apparently it only grows best for several years but this plant has survived at least a decade of total neglect. It’s a long loved plant that was grown in German gardens already in the 16th century and introduced to America in 1806. It  likes an arid climate like the prairies, cold winters and hot summers. It’s amazing that we don’t see many more of them in Edmonton. 

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