Photos by Barry Wallace
I discovered peonies when I was 14 years old and living on my grandfather Thomas's farm for a year, at Churchhill, south of Barrie, while our house was being built in King City. Syd Thomas loved four garden flowers in particular: mums, gladioli, dahlias and peonies. Back then I thought peonies only came in three colours: white, pink and red. Those are the three colours Linda and I have in our King City garden today. They are pictured here in the order in which they always bloom: white first, pink secondly and red third. For 60 years I thought peonies only came in three colours. Incredibly, I've just discovered that peonies come in dozens of other colours. See the internet photo below of a green peony as an example. They are hybrids and come in blue, maroon, yellow, mauve, fuschia, coral, lavendar, mixed colours such as red/white or yellow/white, and on and on. They even come in black! Who knew? A lot of people, of course. But not me and certainly not my grandfather. He was born in the late 1800s and lived a good long life. But not long enough to see a black peony, I dare say.