Peony and other beauties

Quite a few years ago I planted a little tree peony bush (Paeonia suffruticosa) in our garden. I bought it in a garden centre because I liked the picture of its pink flowers presented on a label and based on described growing conditions I decided the peony could grow happily here. It did and though they say the plant doesn’t tolerate replanting easily, it even survived when we needed to move it into a different part of the garden. It doesn’t grow way too quickly but every spring it is covered with impressive buds and then flowers which I’ll never grow tired of being looking at.


In autumn those beautiful flowers turn into quite interesting ovaries. I’m going to collect and dry a few of them and add them to my still life photography props. (You know, the other day I saw similar dried ovaries in a hobby centre and remembered the peony immediately…)

A few days ago I went to the garden with the intention to take a few photos there and my first steps headed towards the peony. When I got closer and chose a flower I wanted to portray, I noticed there was quite a big green beetle sitting inside. I was surprised to see another beetle sitting inside a near flower as well and eventually I found out that there were quite many of them sitting or moving inside the flowers, apparently drinking the nectar. Some of them had a nice shining wing case, others had their wing case scratched and worn. I wonder whether it might have corresponded to their age or perhaps to how adventurous they were?


Based on the beetle’s appearance and behaving, I identified it as a Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata). I found two quite interesting facts regarding rose chafers. Firstly, though they have quite hard looking wing cases, they keep them down when flying, which means the wing cases stay closed in the air and just the wings are out. Secondly, according to Wikipedia “The metallic green colouring of the beetle is caused by the reflection of mostly circularly polarised light, typically left circularly polarised light. When viewed through a right circular polariser, the beetle appears to be colourless.” How curious is that?

I decided to take more photos in the garden this year to document it better. I’ve been key-wording my archive photos lately and I’ve found it very interesting to get back in time and see how the garden and the plants looked those years ago. Look at this Saxifraga × arendsi that is decorating my rock garden at the moment… Wasn’t the capture worth the time and effort?


Or having captured the tulip, beautifully contrasting a Hosta…


…which has just unrolled its leaves.


I’ve just replanted my Hostas and hope they will like their new place. They are very decorative plants and I only regret that they don’t keep their leaves throughout winter.

A garden may become a friend one loves to visit and spend time with, including all the work that needs to be done and all the effort that needs to be made. A garden may also become an enemy if the work and time consumed don’t seem worth the results. I feel fortunate enough to have the garden as a friend that inspires me and challenges me year after year…



  1. Red

    While peonies are a bit fussy to plant they can be moved. Just make sure they are replanted at the exact level they were before they were moved.. I have a great peony plant too.

    1. Red, I remember reading somewhere how much it is important to put the peony into the right depth when planting it but that was after I replanted it. Fortunately I did it well without having that information. The peony just didn’t have any flowers the next year after the replanting, it might have needed to settle down, but now it’s beautiful again.

  2. The peony bush is gorgeous, as is the composition of the image. At first glance, I thought the beetle was probably a pest that we have here known as the Japanese Beetle. They're actually pretty, with their iridescent colors; but they're very destructive. The information you share about your little friend was fascinating. I really like the third image, too. Isn't it wonderful to be through with winter and to enjoy the emerging beauty of spring and summer? 🙂

    1. Linda, thank you. I love this spring as flowers and trees are thriving so beautifully here. We didn’t get those late frosty mornings like in the last two years, they destroyed and damaged lots of buds and flowers. It’s so different this year!

      I’ve been very pleased with the composition of the first photo as I’ve never captured the peony from this angle and it looks great. It’s never late to start looking for a different perspective.

      I’m not sure about harmlessness of the rose chafer. I read several somewhat incompatible pieces of information on the beetle. Specialists say the beetle is harmless and feeds on nectar and decomposing vegetation, which is good, yet some people say the beetle decimates their greenhouses. The thing is, do they speak about the same beetle? Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

    1. Maery, you’re right, this is such a lush time of year when the vegetation looks so fresh and promising, it’s lovely.

      It’s nice to have a flower connected with thinking of mother. You made me realise I have my mother connected with a flower as well, she loves Carnations!

  3. You can dig up or dig up half your hosta and it will grow just about anywhere. My friend had some huge ones and took her shovel and sliced of a hunk to plant in my back yard. Actually 4 pieces off 4 plants. I planted them at the back of the yard and they sure did grow, not so much that first summer, but second summer – beautiful. I used to have Peonies, but they are deadly to my dog, so my friend helped me dig them up and she took them to her house, where they thrived beautifully. My dog, being a puppy at the time, chewed on the stem of one and became very sick, so a trip to the Vet saved her. I agree with you Petra. I love my garden. I love to watch things grow. I love the various colours and beauty. I do weed my garden on a regular basis, cause taking care of your garden is just like taking care of the house and all within. Right 🙂 It won't grow if you don't take care of it. Beautiful photos.

    1. Lilly, thank you. I know that you can multiply hostas by cutting them into several pieces but I’ve never done that so it’s something new I don’t know what to expect of. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      It wouldn’t have occurred to me that a garden flower might cause such problems to a dog. Some flowers are poisonous, that’s true, but I’d expect a dog would avoid them instinctively. You were lucky to identify the cause of your puppy’s sickness soon enough.

      The garden won’t grow if you don’t take care of it, that’s absolutely true. Some years I pay more attention to it and some years less and you can tell the difference right away!

  4. You have some interesting and colourful things in your garden Petra, the design on the Hosta is fascinating as is the minimalist approach at times with the contrasting green grass.
    I inherited my garden from a previous owner in 2006 and have been on a mission to replace shrubs with ones I like, rather than the bizarre that was already planted.

    1. J, thank you. We’ve been remodelling our garden since 2001 when we moved in and the change is still in the process. I’d also like to plant some new shrubs, there are just a few, and they can add so much to the feel of the garden. I like that phrase of being on a mission… sounds apt.

  5. Dobrý den, Petra. Jmenuji se Marek a žiji v Nebrasce. Moji prarodiče z otcovy strany byli česky. Mám velký krystal pivoňka váza, že jsem nikdy použít, protože váží tunu a vyžadovalo by to květy celého stromu. Můžeš mi říct, co se Česká fascinace pivoňky je? Pardon my terrible Czech. I don't know the language that well. I have to look everything up.

    1. Hi, Marek. Czech is not an easy language and if you don’t use it, it must have been difficult to translate what you wanted to say. I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your question and all the vase thing. I don’t understand what you mean by “krystal pivoňka váza” …a crystal vase for peonies? – is there a special vase just for peonies??, and also what you mean by “Česká fascinace pivoňky” …why Czechs like peonies? Please, elaborate.

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