I have many clusters of peonies spread throughout my gardens, and they've all had a different journey in getting there. Some come from my mothers garden and some from my grandmother's yard. I've taken cuttings from cemetery plantings, bought them on clearance at a home improvement store, and transplanted them from old homesteads.
I love any color of peony I can get my hands on, although most are some variation of pink. I work them in wherever there's a sunny spot. This pink peony patch is the largest, and it is actually planted by my trashcan! I did it on purpose just to balance out the unsightliness and occasional unpleasant odors of the area. It's also the first part of my garden that becomes visible as you round the slight curve in our one-lane road and begin the approach to the house. It's a beautiful sight in the spring, and certainly draws the attention away from the trashcan and nearby water hydrant.
I've designed the area so it will be a succession of bloom throughout the growing season. First, the forsythias burst forth with bright yellow blooms, next comes the rush of multicolored iris blossoms, and then the peonies begin their fragrant pink explosions. This is soon followed by the mesmerizing display put on by two deep pink knockout rose bushes, which continue their riot of color until frost. Dancing around the feet of all these plants is a cluster of lambs ear, whose silvery green foliage anchor the display from early spring until late fall. All this chaos is supported by a trio of spreading junipers whose evergreen needles provide a backdrop for 3/4 of the year and then take center stage in the winter months. Each plant has it's season of glory, some lasting only a week and some lasting months. It all comes together to create a nice harmony of texture and color, and a nice first impression of my home and gardens--especially when peonies bloom and instantly become a magnet for attention. The only thing not welcome there are the weeds!
I'm drawn to plants with a purpose. I like to grow things that have some sort of uniqueness to them: a great story, an unusual feature, a creative use. So, heirloom vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs make up the bulk of my cottage style garden. I also have a vegetable plot, berry patches, fruit trees, and herb and cutting flower beds. In maintaining all this, I strive to be as organic as possible by using techniques like companion planting, rotating my crops, and composting kitchen scraps and yard clippings. All this comes together to create a cleaner environment for my family, my livestock, and my gardens.