Tuesday 19 April 2011: Molly the witch
A few years ago a good friend of ours gave us a small plant of Caucasian peony Paeonia mlokosewitschii, affectionately known as Molly the witch. This species can be quite slow to flower - ours had a single bud in 2009, which failed to develop fully, three magnificent blooms in 2010 and this year there are six! Each bloom is a frothy confection of palest lemon-yellow petals, golden stamens and pinkish-red stigmas.
I wasn't going to photograph yet another flower, but when I went out in the garden this morning I was amazed to see it fully out. Last year the first bloom appeared on the 5th May, a good fortnight later than this year's emergence.
The water droplets are a consequence of garden watering. I don't normally like to do this, and all the established plants in our garden have to cope without any extra help. But we planted quite a few new shrubs and perennials a few weeks ago, and have had hardly any rain since. No rain seems to be predicted for at least a fortnight, which is rather worrying as the ground is desperately dry.
In contrast to yesterday, this is the only thing I've photographed today as I've been too busy shopping, mowing the lawn and generally tidying the garden, and cooking in preparation for tomorrow's guests. I must admit the house tidying seems to have come off worst - the weather was too nice to be in. I just hope it stays like this tomorrow so we can spend all our time in the garden, which is looking really lovely at the moment!