May Red

There was a week at the beginning of May where the sun shone. I remember it, yes, a day so bright my eyes needed a shield.  Now it is rain, mist, and fog- on and on...for weeks. The little garden opposite the shop has been a cheery reminder that spring has actually come our way. We made it the red garden, to echo the shop. It did undergo extensive renovation, when we bumped the house out another ten feet and reduced the garden twenty feet. Out came the hepatacodium. And recently, in came Magnolia liliflora 'Nigra'. Red, yes! That's a color that beams.
Shop Garden
 Of course, you know there had to be exception to such a plan, an irresistible sale... on tree paeonies of non-red colors. But that bloom comes later. Now, for early May, my first paeony to bloom in the year, is hot red Paeonia mascula. It is seed grown, and a wild thing.
Paeonia mascula bloom
 Best of all this stunning little paeony seems to be very hardy for this hilltop in the Litchfield Hills. A native of southern Europe, it is said to be growing freely on shrubby slopes and dry meadows from France to Russia and south to Iran. In cultivation for over 500 years (per Halda), I wonder why it is not grown in more gardens. I noticed two little seedlings nearby!
Paeonia mascula


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