Now, in early June, another highlight is having its display. The 4in/10cm flowers of Paeonia lactiflora 'Bowl of Beauty' have opened from fat buds and, in the intervals between some rather heavy rain showers when they close up again, are displaying their blowsy charms.
|Paeonia lactiflora 'Bowl of Beauty'|
It won't last long. By next week the petals will be shattered and fallen, its brief season over for another year. But it will linger long in the memory and I can always justify the space it occupies in an increasingly crowded small garden by reminding myself that it does actually have two seasons of interest. In early spring the new leaves emerge red flushed, providing another brief moment of colour, all the more valuable during that bleaker season.
|Red flushed young foliage of Paeonia lactiflora 'Bowl of Beauty'|
|Iris sibirica 'Perry's Blue'|
|Iris laevigata 'Variegata'|
Like the peony, these irises don't linger long. But, for a few brief days bridging the gap between spring and summer, they provide a highlight. No wonder that larger gardens would set aside garden areas devoted solely to peonies and irises - and visit them only when both plants were in flower at the start of summer. My four are my homage to more spacious times.