See also: Herbaceous Perennials, Peony Bowl of Beauty
I find peonies such as Pillow Talk achingly beautiful to look at and very difficult to photograph. Lots of petals and a cruelly short bloom time creates a narrow window of opportunity. Occasionally I stumble onto a worthwhile image and off we go...
Pillow Talk was released in 1974 and won a gold medal from the American Peony Society twenty years later. Such staying power says something. You can view the entire list of gold medal winners here.
Peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) are normally ridiculously easy to grow, so long as you provide good drainage. Plant them in as much sun as possible for more prolific flowering, although shade during the hottest part of the day may help keep the flowers from fading. On this you need all the help you can get, as some peony cultivars' flowers can come and go in the span of a long weekend.
Pillow Talk grows 24"-36" inches tall and is considered a mid-Spring bloomer. The color is soft pink and the petal count seemingly limitless. Leaves are dark green and as with most peonies, tough and attractive. I tend to plant peonies not at the front of the border but at the back...as summer's flowers come into their own, the peony foliage provides nice deep green color as it fades into the background.
Growing peonies successfully in your garden:
- Organic Gardening guide to growing peonies.
- North Carolina State University has extensive information about peony culture.
- Peonies are extremely cold hardy (Zones 2-9). Midwestern gardeners might want to check out Ohio State University's tutorial on growing peonies.
Pillow Talk (and other peonies) deer resistant? Indeed.
I cannot imagine anything looking more appetizing to deer than the soft, fluffy, billowy goodness of a peony in full flower. It's true: Deer do not like peonies. According to deerxlandscape.com, all parts of the peony act as mild stomach irritants to deer.