Gardening Magazine

The Peony Grown from Seed

By Ozhene @papaver
or a smug moment
I think I am not alone that when faced with a superb amount of choice from a seed catalog I sometimes buy seeds that are beyond my ability to grow.  I have wasted lots of money on these types of seeds many times and to be honest, I never learn my lesson.  The reason why I don't learn my lesson is just when I should give up, should think I know nothing is going to ever grow, something does.
Add to this the need for patience.  I think I have said before that in alot of my daily life I am not the most patient of people.  I have got better as I have got older, but I am liable to the odd tantrum given the right set of circumstances.  Gardening has actually taught me a lot about patience and in the garden my patience appears to know no bounds.  Well, that's not quite true, but I am more likely to take the long view.
Some years ago, probably six but I am not exactly sure, six or five I reckon at best, I bought some peony seeds from a catalog because I thought why not.  They did nothing, they just sat there in the pot, growing mossy.  Now usually I would throw them away after a few months but for some reason this time I did not.  I decided to let them sit.  I think it was partly because at the same time I sowed these I sowed some rose seeds, just as I was about to throw them out one germinated, which meant that everything else got a stay of execution as well.
A year passed and it came time to do the annual Spring greenhouse clear out.  You know the one, the one where you empty out all the pots that are just sitting there with compost in them and no sign of actual plantage that you want.  I picked up the peony seed pot to throw it away and noticed a small but definite shoot.  Throwing out was delayed.  I moved the pot into a sunnier part of the greenhouse and kept an eye on it.
When the weather warmed I put the pot outside on the table that sits by the greenhouse.  This is a very useful table, I grow things on on it that are not quite ready to go in the ground, but also too hardy to need greenhouse heat all the time.  When winter arrived I brought the pot back into the greenhouse and hoped it would emerge the next spring.  It did, joy of joys it did.  So I did the same again, pot outside all summer, back into the greenhouse all winter.
The next spring I planted it out in the garden, it seemed big enough to handle this now.  It grew well, throwing up some nice leaves but that was all.
The next year, ditto.
Then, finally, this year there appeared a bud.  An actual bud!  This was so exciting.
The peony grown from seedI watched it
The peony grown from seedand watched it and then at last the flower opened.  It was definitely worth the wait, it is gorgeous.
The peony grown from seedSo would I try and grow a peony from seed again, you betcha, there are seeds in the fridge as I write.  I'll report back in five years.

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