Happy June!

peonies slimpaley

 Happy June!!

We’re only 2o sleeps away from the first official day of Summer-as long time readers know, my very favourite time of year.

I have a plethora of fun things, places, images and inspiration I hope to share with you as we move into the warmer months, including the debut of my new blog design-so you might want to consider subscribing to my email notifications if you haven’t already. The design continues to move along nicely and I hope to have it up and running very soon.

In the meantime please excuse the less than effusive amount of posts I’ve managed the last couple of months. I hope to be back up to speed shortly.

For now I thought I’d share the joy that a couple of bunches of $6.99 peonies from Trader Joe’s brought me this week. Feel free to drag them onto your desktop to bring a smile to your face this month too.

peonies slimpaley

I kid you not, these were from the grocery store. They didn’t even look promising at first but being that peonies are one of the very few flowers we can’t grow here in Santa Barbara, we’re pretty much an easy mark for any peony pusher that moseys into town.

peonies slimpaley

 The most amazing thing about this particular batch was that they started out a deep coral-y rose, turning to a true pink, then finishing off almost pale yellow. Ah-mazing. It was like every day there was a new show.

peonies slimpaley

 I simply couldn’t stop taking pictures! Even the tightest few buds (you can see one in the bottom left below) unfurled to perfection.

pink peonies slimpaley

 I took all these photos over the course of the week with both my iPhone and Canon camera. No filters or enhancing-these were the true colours.  I put the arrangement outside most nights to prolong the life of the flowers-it makes such a difference.

peonies slimpaleyHow incredible can a single flower be??

peonies slimpaley

Seriously, they were huge!  Talk about getting your money’s worth.

peonies slimpaley

They made me so happy but alas, they rarely have scent, so they will never replace the Rose in my heart of hearts…

However,  if I were ever to date another flower on the side…Helllooo Mr. Giant Peony

It’s a bit of an Aden vs. Mr. Big situation isn’t it?

xox SP

This time in 2012…Tweet Tweet




  1. oh how I love peonies! I have checked mine every evening – they still have maybe couple of weeks before they bloom. Right now rhododendrons giving their mightiest color display 🙂

  2. These peonies make me almost as happy as the LA Kings winning tonight and going to the Stanley Cup Finals….or seeing Bruno Mars in concert…..

  3. Wonder why they don’t grow there? My peonies are just now blooming……….mostly white with pink centers and unfortunately we had 50mph winds yesterday and it really beat them all to heck………bummer. But alot are still tight buds so will wait for them to open! Linda from Idaho

  4. Spectacular !!! Love this flower. Makes my heart sing. Thank you for taking us along in the opening process.

    • Here in North Carolina, we experienced an unusually intense winter. The happy result? Masses of peonies, unlike any other spring. We have cut at least 75 for bouquets–and, unlike those lovely TJ’s variety, the peonies of the South have an intense fragrance that nearly rivals the magnolia blossom! I imagine the hybridized, mass grown versions may not have any fragrance–much like a hothouse rose lacks fragrance? In any case, you must come South next year and experience white, pink, magenta and other color peonies with an amazing nose–but come early. By June, all of ours are long finished.

  5. Back in the day, on the East Coast, they were marvelously fragrant. We in Santa Barbara get ours from a more humid climate but little or no fragrance. I wonder why? Doesn’t matter to me though, I still adore them. 🙂

  6. Several new peony farms have popped up in the Mat-Su Valley, here in Alaska. They grow and bloom very well here from June through September: wedding season. Beautiful photographs, as always.

  7. My assistant sent me a good bye gift of pinky coral peonies mixed with orange roses, the best of both worlds. I still can never get over how you and I always love exactly the same things.

  8. I don’t know where Trader Joes gets their peonies, but mine here on the East Coast, especially the white ones, have a heavenly fragrance! Yours were gorgeous…….. They are my favorite …….<3

  9. Nice happy post. Love your pictures. Here in Wyoming, we have lots of peonies, some have some smell, though not a lot. Mine don’t get much sun, so are late setting buds, but coming along nicely. You do nice work.

  10. As Linda says above….the peonies are out and looking amazing this year….we didn’t have any winds tho’ so they are still perfection! Come on “north”….

  11. m I am enjoying my peonies on my desk right now – they were buds now – they are big fucia pink flowers. My little italian Auntie, Aunt Santina always said, it is time to decorate the famiy cemetery, the Peonies are in bloom. Mama-mia. God Bless you all. Maryann

  12. I am a newbie….and just saying, I already am a huge fan-follower here in Burbank ! Thank you so much!! Pam Wise

    Sent from my iPad


  13. My peonies are on my desk right now, fucia pink big blooms, they are gorgeous! My little italian auntie, Aunt Santina endearingly used to say: “The peonies are in bloom, it is time to decorate the cemetery of La familigia. Mama-mia. God Bless! Maryann.

  14. I love peonies. They are my absolute favorite flower, and I too, buy them at Trader Joe’s, by the armload. I can’t seem to get enough of them! (Soon I’ll have to go to rehab for peony addiction!) If I’m not mistaken, peonies like a good chill during the winter months, so that may be why they aren’t successful in the Santa Barbara area. It’s just too warm there.

  15. Why don’t they like to grow in California? Here in North Carolina out on the farm, I was blessed with mine blooming. Even after I dug the bulbs up and moved them to our new property!

  16. Very true about having a BITTERLY, LONG, NEVER ENDING, AWFUL,. WINTER…it produces “thee best” abundance of peonies!! Mine are over a hundred years old…brought from “our” farm in Nebraska…the “old timey” variety. I’ve got some new specimens as well…but you’re right, they don’t have “that peony fragrance.” franki

  17. Gorgeous Slim, mine are late in blooming, they are such favorites though! Thank you so much for sharing!!
    The Arts by Karena

  18. Happy June! I’m loving all the peonies I can get my hands on. Someone told me those giant ones are tree peonies and that’s why they have no scent. Knowing nothing about flowers or plants I took her word for it. Looking forward to the blog reveal! Enjoy your week. xoJennifer

  19. Slim,
    These truly are spectacular examples, even for peony. I live in SoCal myself, and have always wished we could grow peonies. I was sucked in at Costco recently, they had a peony bush with a dozen buds on it, I figured for $15 how could I go wrong…the dang bush never opened it’s buds. I guess it was protesting the unusually warm weather we experienced in May!
    Can’t wait to see the blog digs.

  20. Your TJ peonies are absolutely lovely…thank you for such a beautiful start to my week!! My garden has proved too shady for peonies, but you prompt me to try one more time, in the sunniest spot. For now, I am glorying in bunches of peonies from the neighborhood farmer’s market. Some have scent; other don’t; we pick only the former. A16-day-old bouquet of fragrant crimsons blooms and fragrant white blooms with crimson flecks on the inner petals has been a dose of joy every time I have come into the kitchen.

  21. Only two weeks in our new home in coastal Georgia and you’re killing me with peonies! I had friends dig up a few of my CT peonies before the move, but I wonder if the remaining ones are knocking the socks off the new owner? I had a few of the older varieties that were the most intense fragrance! The newer flashier peonies sometimes lacked the scent. You cant have everything …or can you?

  22. One legend has it that the peony is named after Paeon, a physician to the gods, who received the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo.

  23. Slim, I’m still chuckling over Aden and Mr. Big. Never understood why Carrie chose Mir. Big…I was CRAZY for Aden.
    Here in Texas, we haven’t a prayer of growing peonies so must rely on our local florist. Such a treat!! I’d love to see some of the colors your readers mention. I’ve never seen a red peony!

  24. Slim, Was wondering about those TJ’s peonies.. They are all over the place here for sale now. About 2 years ago, you couldn’t find peonies anywhere and if you did they were pricey. I will have to get some and I cannot believe your amazing photos. So gorgeous and the color change too.
    I bought a peony from local church plant sale I walked past last summer. It had one bloom and never looked good. It finally came back a few weeks ago, so crossing my fingers.. Wonder why they can’t grow in California? Everything else can! Good to know about putting them out at night! Never heard of that, but I’m going to try that.
    Waiting to see your new blog!! I’m sure it will be gorgeous. xx Kim

  25. Hi Slim. I would love to share some wedding photos with you but at this time they would be for your years only. If you are interested let me know. The wedding was on a family ranch in the San Joaquin Valley. John Deere and Diamonds. Thank you for all your amazing posts. I would love it if you would share your iPhone photo hints. Thank you,

    Linda T

    Sent from my iPad


  26. Slim: I live in the Chicago area and I have three gorgeous peony plants. They have a heavenly scent and they are certainly one of my favorite flowers. Every Spring I revel in our peonies, Lily of the Valley and Caesar Irises.

    My peony plants belonged to my Grandmother and we moved them from her garden. They are older than me!

Would love to hear from you!