The sun is blazing down, the temperature and humidity are at 90, thunderstorms threaten, perfect conditions for peonies. My peony plant has rewarded me with seven lovely blooms this year. I set this plant out in the fall several years ago. At first it struggled. The next spring it had one flower. Then nothing for two years. It almost died one winter.
Then it perked up. Every year the blossom count has increased, from four to five to now, seven. There is even a stalk with two flowers. I couldn’t be happier. The scent and beauty of peonies, to me, is unmatched in the flower world. I picked one bloom that was nearly touching the ground due to its weight. One flower fragrances the whole area around the dining table. The bloom measures six inches across and is still not fully open.
I did find a few ants crawling around the table. It appears I didn’t shake the flower long enough before bringing it in the house. Ants love the sweet secretions of the buds and the flower nectar and flock to them. The presence of ants is not a problem for the plant and the insects should be allowed to remain on the outdoor flowers. They are not necessary for the opening of the flowers as far as humans can determine, but one can never be sure of the relationship between certain plants and insects.
Another way to get rid of the ants is to dunk the cut flowers in cold water (in a bucket outdoors) for a while. Drain them well before arranging them in a vase. Peony blooms are long lasting and will survive in a vase for a good week. When the peonies fade, I know the height of summer has passed, as well.