What Peonies Teach Us

With this time of constant change and having to keep re-inventing the wheel, the saying “Adapt or die” comes to mind...

But we prefer the more hopeful spin on that idea.

To rather think of what we’ve learnt during this time of uncertainty. Something along the lines of:

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." — Gertrude Jekyll

Yes, our precious peony plants have taught us all these things and more. We are so grateful to have had a connection to nature through all of this. It has been an anchor in many ways.

And it seems we aren’t the only ones experiencing that. Many are turning to plants to find some peace and calm in the chaos. Sales of seeds have grown exponentially as window-sill gardens and veggie patches pop up everywhere.

Some that swore they’d never have kids are now trying their hand at plant parenting.

So what are some of the things we’ve learnt from the peonies we are privileged to care for?

Flexibility and Resilience

The only guarantee in life is change so we’ve got to be flexible. Although we’ve had a topsy turvy season this year, it’s been amazing to see how our peonies learnt to adapt and still put on a good show, even if a little late.

In spite of all the unpredictability of what is happening with us humans, those plants and animals just keep doing their thing. With grace and beauty.


Peonies show us how to hurry up and wait!

For a start, when growing them from seed, peony seeds need to go through a double vernalisation. Then you need to wait another five years to see if the flower is worth anything. Then you’ve got to bulk it up, either the slow way of dividing every two years or the short cut of tissue culture. And still you’ll be lucky to get anything in your life time.

Also, with the flowering season being delayed this year and the show being relatively short anyway, we’ve really had to be present to every moment of this celebration of blooms.

Slowing down and taking all the beauty in each day has had a revitalising effect, helping us to appreciate many other fleeting, yet monumental moments in life.


As we know, peonies are not difficult to care for. In well-drained soil with enough sun and a bit of water, they’re good to go. In fact, the peony’s ability to survive for decades untended is testament to its incredible hardiness and longevity.

Now we’re not suggesting you starve and deprive yourself down to the barest necessities. But it got us thinking of the benefits of being content with a simple life and to use life’s challenges as growing opportunities.

What do you think?

What have you learnt from your peonies?