Flowers are the perfect antidote to a cold wintery day. It's minus 12C this a.m., and although the sun is shining, it's taken an extra 20 minutes or so to thaw out my toes after my morning walk. So, the moment I sat down I started scrolling through my spring flower photos and found this one of an unnamed Japanese Tree Peony that I got on sale many years ago. I can practically feel the sun's warmth on the petals.
I remember Stephanie Cohen, professor and author, talk about Japanese Tree Peonies - her advice was simple, "Buy the best you can afford - they'll outlive you!" However, their period of bloom is very brief; probably a week from beginning to end. Unlike herbacious peonies that die to the ground each year, these have woody stems and like their cousins are pleasant looking bushes when they aren't in bloom.
Plant Japanese Tree Peonies close to the door so you can catch their progress as you come and go during the day. And, don't forget to take a few snapshots so that you too will be able to enjoy these massively beautiful blooms even on the coldest of days in February.