After weeks of nervous anticipation, I'm happy to announce the arrival of Trafford Bigger, the newest addition to our happy peony family. I purchased TB in the spring of 2005, set it out in the fall of the year in a location it obviously hated, worried over it for more than a year as it limped along, being too puny to bloom in the spring of 2006. In the spring of 2007, the Easter freeze conspired to keep it from blooming once again. I moved it around the corner in the fall of 2007, and it obviously likes its new digs -- it has graced our presence with its very first bloom in the Cottage Garden.
Trafford Bigger joins a lovely family. The matriarch of the family has been with me since 1995 and with my mother since the 1950s. I don't know her name, but her smell brings back memories of carrying flowers to my gradeschool teachers. She also was moved in the fall of 2007 (to make way for the Kitchen Garden) and has been divided into two large plants in the Cottage Garden. Skye took a vaseful to her teacher on the morning after she learned her baby is a little girl.
Trafford's older sister doesn't have a name, either. I think she came off a sale table at Wal-Mart, half dead from lack of care. She is exquisite, with large cream outer petals, the palest pink inner petals, and a bold pink stamen in the center. All three peonies have scents to remember. They will be joined in the fall by Whitecap, which smells just as sweet, but is a burgundy rather than the white her name implies.