Opinion

HELEN LANG: Pretty peonies can grow from their cuttings

Although they have begun to drop petals I hate to part with a lovely bouquet of dark red peonies mixed with white lilacs given to me by Ruth recently. Peonies are at their peak right now and they are lovely and lush this year. I saw them in Mary’s garden and they are really a splendid plant.

Some years ago my dear Jim and I were in a marvellous display garden near Vancouver. There were paths through the woods and planted beside one of them were huge tree peonies. To Jim’s disgust he saw me break off a twig from one of them and stash it in my purse. When we got home I put it in water to try to root it. It worked. Two weeks later I planted my “cutting” in a pot outside and it grew.

The following year my now strong plant produced a yellow flower bud. I was over the moon with excitement. It was almost open, but that wasn’t going to happen.

Several days later the bud turned brown and a few days after, so did the whole plant. I deserved it, of course.

I learned a lesson: don’t steal a snippit of someone else’s plant. 1) It’s illegal, 2) it won’t grow for you, 3) if it does grow it will probably give you hives on your eyebrows.

It’s just not worth it.

I am the lucky owner of a gift bouquet containing branches of small yellow chrysanthemums, white alstromeria, white daisies, and pink carnations, all surrounded by delicate ferns.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 25 years.

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