One of my favorite springtime flowers is the peony. The plant has luscious green leaves that grow quickly once the weather warms up. Peak bloom occurs from early May to June. Peonies come in a range of whites, pale pinks, deep pinks, with the occasional pale yellow, too.
If you're wondering why I'm writing about spring flowers in October, it's because now is the best time to plant bare root peonies. In fact, you can plant peonies right up until the ground is frozen solid.
When selecting plants for your garden you'll have the best luck with locally-grown varieties since they are well adapted to our soil and growing environment. Peony's Envy, located in New Jersey, raises an enormous variety of peonies, in all colors. A look through their catalog will have your green fingers twitching to get into the soil. Get on their mailing list and you'll get updates on nursery tours.
Peonies come in two varieties, herbaceous and tree. Tree peonies are perennial shrubs with woody branches. They bloom at the beginning of May and produce gigantic dinner-plate-sized flowers on plants that grow from three to seven feet tall. Tree peonies grow slowly, producing two to six inches of new growth each year. Given well-drained soil and dappled sunlight, they will live for centuries. Another plus is that deer don't eat them.
Herbaceous peonies are disease-resistant perennials that bloom during the transition from spring into summer. They need at least five hours of full sun and rich, well-drained soil, but otherwise require little care. They can be planted in both spring and fall.