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We specialize in growing fine herbaceous peonies in Southern Oregon, an area exceptionally suited for growing peonies. They are one of the best perennials to grow in temperate gardens, and their longevity, drought tolerance, deer resistance, fragrance, and foliage interest add to their appeal, but the attraction for most of us is their huge bouquets of vivid blossoms, which appear in a radiant range of red, rose, lavender, yellow, and various shades of pink, and white.    

"The Unforgettable Peony" by Karen Goodrich"     

There is something unforgettable about a mature peony in full bloom.  From tiny Singles, nodding like windflowers, to dinner- plate size giants that take your breath away.  Their masses of luscious flowers are held aloft by striking foliage in various hues of lacy Green.  The unique scent is reminiscent of old roses, lemons, and spice.  

A well-placed peony anchors the perennial border.  The greenery is a magnificent backdrop for an ever changing palette of annual color.  No flower, except the rose, (Which is like a peony only with thorns!) has been so celebrated. 

Peonies are one of the most beloved of all flowers.  They have been in cultivation for thousands of years.  The naturalist, Pliny the Elder (ca. A.D. 23-79), tells us in his Natural History “that among medicinal plants the flower known as Paeonia is the most ancient of all.”  In Imperial China, only the royal family and the very wealthy, could possess the treasured plant.  The Chinese name for peony is “Sho Yo” which means “Most Beautiful.”  Frequently a prize plant was offered as a portion of the marriage dowry.

Peonies have been featured in art and literature for generations.  They have graced Silken fabrics, been hand painted on exquisite porcelain, and been a favorite subject of artists in general.  Garden literature abounds with references to the peony. In The little Garden and the Peony, Mrs. Edward Harding writes, “In March of 1919,  I had the opportunity to see the battlefronts of Europe.  A sadder more appalling vision of destruction never was.  Town after town leveled to brick and dust.  We stopped for lunch when we reached Nouvillers.  I chose a broken wall near which to spread our luncheon and there near the wall I came upon two peony plants pushing through the earth.  Tears brimmed.  I could not control them.  Here had been a home and a cherished garden.” 

As gardeners we share a bond which breaks down every other difference between us.  We are “Garden Souls.”  When we see a well tended peony, in a much loved garden,  our hearts are warmed by feelings of friendship for the gardener and we want to share and chat with them about their flowers. 

Here at Buck Canyon Gardens it is our greatest honor and privilege to help our guests connect with the past.  They come to our peony show in search of their childhoods, in search of a connection to a cherished mother, grandmother, or grandfather.  The beauty of a blooming peony at the heart of a garden is such a connection.

It is rewarding to witness the absolute delight of a guest, who has found “My mother’s peony.” They tell us they are taking home something precious, something that has more meaning than the actual plant itself, they say,” Planting this peony will be like having a part of my mother near me,” and their eyes are misty. 

Since antiquity the peony has been a symbol of wealth, prosperity, and remembrance.  I say that there is nothing sweeter in the garden than those flowers of old.  The lavender, the lilac, the rose, and the peony. Like old friends we pass the peaceful hours together, each is a cherished unforgettable friend, and so we stop and say hello, we inhale deeply, and then we walk away content.     


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