Thursday, June 12, 2008


There is a peony garden in Queen Anne. Maybe I should call it a collection. Venus, the gardener, says that she has 130 different peonies as well as lilies and some other collections too. I have been stopping by throughout the spring to visit this extraordinary sight and I took my camera last time. We had just had a week of rain with gale force winds the night before so I should have chosen a different day for photography. But some of the battered flowers look quite beautiful too. Unlike roses, peonies have a ragged quality to them - a kind of debauched rococo extravagance that reminds me of Marie Antoinette. Maybe that is why they suit the tatty after-the-storm look. If Venus is the meticulous gardener I think she is, I'll bet that many of them will have lost their heads when I visit next.

The smell of this garden is heavenly and the place buzzes with delirious bees.I took my camera in my car afterward to wait for Isobel to finish her dance class and as I scrolled through the photos I could swear that I could smell the peonies. I am not usually given to such flights of fancy but I think there may be some sort of crossed wires in my brain. I even sniffed the camera and then told myself I was being silly.

I am working on an oil painting of these peonies that I will post when it is finished. I feel a little sad to move on from the poppies but there is just too much to paint this time of year.

Some of these are worth clicking on to see them enlarged.


  1. 130 varieties, thats some collection!

    They do still look beautiful though, and nothing beats the fragrance apart from Roses.

    I like the ragged look too, it looks like time faded silk from the gowns of a time gone by. Beautiful.

    Best Wishes,


  2. What a garden that must be! I'll bet it smells wonderful!