Sunday, 25 November 2012


Yesterday, my husband came home from work early and took over the role of coordinating our children's hectic schedule of Saturday that I could flit off on a tour organised by Karen Wagner, a very talented garden designer around town, to Weston Farm in the countryside just outside Hobart to see Richard and Belinda Weston's heartstoppingly beautiful peonies in full bloom:

I dressed accordingly, digging out a very old flowery Collette Dinnigan skirt that I wore to a lunch the day after our wedding.....almost 14 years ago. Think that's old, the Pringle of Scotland knit that I wore is part of a twinset that used to be owned by my aunt and by my calculations it must be almost fifty years old:

Look how fab it all looked out amongst the paddocks full of peonies:

Yet again, I matched....see:

On this occasion, I didn't have a compliant husband to take photos for me and frankly, I was too embarrassed to ask anybody case they thought that I had been sniffing something other than the heady scent of peony flowers.

With access to real live peony farmers, I didn't hold back and asked a million questions. At one stage, I shamelessly pulled out my iPhone and showed Richard photos of the peonies growing in my garden in the quest to try and determine which varieties they actually are. Now let me properly introduce you to what could possibly be 'Adolphe Rousseau':

and what most definitely is 'Monsieur Jules Elie':

As for the rogue peony in my garden that has caused me no end of angst because it hasn't flowered for five long years....well, we narrowed the causes down to being that the plant could have been too small when we bought it (beware, always check the roots and the crown as there must be a minimum of three nodules to guarantee fast flowing) which means that it has needed the five years just to get to flowering size, or my husband could have planted it too deeply (the crown needs to sit just below the soil level). So, I'm going to feed it with lime around the periphery of the plant in autumn (never put fertiliser on the actual plant), which is prime fertilising time.....and hope for the spring next year. If that doesn't finally elicit a bloom, then I can dig it up in autumn the year after and re plant it.

And KAR from The House A Blog Built, as promised I quizzed the peony farmer all about growing peonies on the Adelaide plains. The upshot being that it's no problem growing them in the hills (yet somehow I don't think that you want to move just to grow peonies after you have put in so much dedicated work on renovating your gorgeous home), yet down on the plains you might just be lucky if you plant in a cool, shady place that gets some direct sunlight. It's worth a try, yet he did clarify that as peonies originated in Mongolia, Russia and Japan......Adelaide might just be too hot.

After tiptoeing through the peonies, there was an utterly magnificent afternoon tea put on in their glorious back garden:

I went home with a serious dose of garden much so that this morning I was out in my bathrobe demonstrating a new dedication to my garden by deadheading roses and the ungodly hour of 8am.


PS If you live in Hobart, Belinda from Weston's Farm sells peonies in season on Sunday's at the Farm Gate Market.


  1. Sigh. Love Peonies, but had always been told we couldn't grow them in Adelaide. I'll just have to stick to roses. Love your outfit and the matchy-matchy. I still think about a Collette Dinnigan skirt I left in the shops around 10 years ago that had large hydrangeas on it. Should've bought it clearly. And I saw some peonies down at the grocers this week - $5 per flower (some not in the best of conditions either) and I thought of you with some envy growing your own. You were at a little gold mine at the farm! xx

  2. well i would say that the north coast of nsw would be too hot for peonies also!
    love your outfit btw!

  3. How utterly gorgeous and the skirt and top are fab too.

    saw DV this morning- you will LUFF it.

    Raed every one of your posts the other day! xxx

  4. Love a woman who matches her skirt and cardi/twinset to her garden!
    Thrilled you enjoyed the Peony Farm. Karen is lovely on email, so I can imagine she'd be nice in person too.
    Did you see the parterre kitchen garden as well?
    Thanks for showing us such gorgeous photos.

  5. Love a woman who coordinates her wardrobe with her garden!
    Glad you enjoyed the peony farm. Loved the photos - thanks for showing us.

  6. Love that Collette Dinnigan skirt .... Isn't it amazing that the print is just as coveted today .Love peonies though seriously have no idea how to plant them ... Someday maybe .... Thanks for sharing the beautiful day with us :)Priyaxx

  7. Floral heaven!
    I wish I had one of my mum's old twinsets, they were such a great fashion! x

  8. Oh how gorgeous, what a lovely way to spend the day, and you looked fantastic.

    I laughed out loud when you mentioned moving to the hills, and then I contemplated suicide, but my new oven talked me down from the ledge.

    Thank you so much for asking about us Adelaidians, I will see how much energy I have at the end of this reno and possibly give them a crack, or just live vicariously through you!

    Lovely post - thanks for sharing. Kx (The Blog a House Built)

  9. I'm so sorry a Certain Daughter's 5th birthday party clashed with This Important Occasion. Will you go with me next year? J x


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