The Life Cycle of Our Peonies in 2012

Bob Jensen at Trinity University 



Peony ---

The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.[3]

The family name "Paeoniaceae" was first used by Friedrich K.L. Rudolphi in 1830, following a suggestion by Friedrich Gottlieb Bartling that same year. The family had been given other names a few years earlier. The composition of the family has varied, but it has always consisted of Paeonia and one or more genera that are now placed in Ranunculales. It has been widely believed that Paeonia is closest to Glaucidium, and this idea has been followed in some recent works. Molecular phylogenetic studies, however, have demonstrated conclusively that Glaucidium belongs in Ranunculaceae, but that Paeonia belongs in the unrelated order Saxifragales.[7]


Peonies can be classified by both plant growth habit and flower type. Plant growth types are Herbaceous (Bush), Tree, and Intersectional (Itoh).

Each flower type becomes more complex in its arrangement of petals. The flower types include Single (e.g., Athena, Dad, Krinkled White, Scarlet O’Hara, Sea Shell), Japanese (Nippon Beauty, Madame Butterfly), Anemone, Semi-Double (Paula Fay, Coral Charm, Miss America, Buckeye Belle), Double (Ann Cousins, Gardenia, Kansas, Paul M. Wild, Tourangelle) and Bomb-Double (Red Charm, Raspberry Sundae, Mons Jules Elie). Herbaceous peonies die back in winter and regrow in spring, while tree peonies lose their leaves in winter, but leave woody stems.

Intersectional (Itoh) peonies are hybrid crosses between tree and herbaceous types. They have the large flowers of a tree peony, but die back to the ground each year like herbaceous peonies.


Sometimes I wonder if Peonies are a mistake of nature. The perennial blossoms are beautiful and too big for their stems in wind and rain. I do put wire racks under each bush. That helps a lot but wind and rain can still make the blossoms bend low and shred apart. But while they are early in bloom peonies are magnificent. They only bloom for a couple of weeks each year and then look like globs of poop on the bush or on the ground.

Ants love the sweet nectar of a peony blossom


And then swift-aging beauty turns to ugly

In the fall I will cut these peony bushes to the ground and the roots will lie dormant under a blanket of snow

Erika makes certain I covered her roses in heavy burlap

And here we sit in April waiting for the next season of our flower gardens



And now you know why I don't present a time-lapse picture of human faces in a mirror
But in a way there's an analogy here
We're born sort of ugly and die sort of ugly if we live to be old
But in between there's beauty rising, peaking, and shrinking
It's not so much how we look in the mirror at any point in our lives
But how we deal with God's plan for us in all seasons

An Irish Blessing for You ---

What Goes on in a Garden? ---

The Beauty of Pollination ---

TED Talk:  Time Lapse Photography (Louie Schwartzberg) ---



Blogs of White Mountain Hikers (many great photographs) ---

Our cottage's history ---

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

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Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Our address is 190 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Our cottage was known as the Brayton Cottage in the early 1900s
Sunset Hill is a ridge overlooking with New Hampshire's White Mountains to the East
and Vermont's Green Mountains to the West



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