I haven’t done much to the garden since my initial effort in 2008, but it has rewarded my neglect by growing with wild abandon. It’s really not such a bad thing.

The Backyard, September 2008

The Backyard, June 2011

The peonies used to be out front. There were four of them when we moved in, but they weren’t getting enough sun so I decided to move them to the back. In the process, the four peonies accidentally became 12, but forging ahead, we planted all 12. Now, for about five days each June, my garden bursts with peonies. My favorite flower.

I would love to make some changes and additions to the yard, but that’s pretty low in my priorities right now. Enjoying the garden though, that ranks quite a bit higher.

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  • Susan Hazel
    June 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    My absolute favorite flower…for now. :)

  • Stephanie
    June 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Love peonies! Just look at your little diva in the floppy hat & sunglasses. So adorable.

    • Making it Lovely
      June 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      Sometimes she knocks me out. I know she’s my kid and I’m biased, but she’s just so pretty. I love this photo I got of her:


      • macy dawn
        June 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

        Too cute!

  • Katie
    June 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    We just bought a new to us home a few months ago and we’re fortunate to have bought from an avid gardener. We have a few types of peonies, oodles or roses and tons of other stuff that I haven’t identified yet. My little girl and I love being back there. I’ll have to remember to have my husband snag photos of us relaxing. The pair of you look so cute!

  • camille
    June 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I love peonies too! They are on my list when we start our yard (also not a priority right now).

  • Cait @ Hernando House
    June 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    So cute!

  • Circa1972vs1906
    June 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    My fav flower too. It is such a shame they have such a tiny season. But, I plan and prune and preen for those few days every year. I am in love with the new variety I got from Peony’s Envy (yeah, i know…) last year – called “Red Pearls in a Pink Tray”. Such fat, tight blossoms and an amazing scent! I’ve got 11 peonies and want to keep expanding it every year. BTW, Nicole, your green dress is absolutely perfect. Where did you find it? Enjoy your blooms, hopefully the storm didn’t knock them all out.

    • Making it Lovely
      June 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      Peony’s Envy!

      The dress was just a little sundress from Old Navy a few years ago.

      • Circa1972vs1906
        June 10, 2011 at 8:41 am

        Awfully racy name for a peony distro, right?! Love it.
        Aw darn – that green is JUST the perfect colour! You’ve got the best collection of dresses.

      • camille
        June 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm

        Do you plan to sell the clothes she’s grown out of, or are you holding on to them for future kids? I’m very interested if you decide to sell (seriously!)

      • Making it Lovely
        June 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm

        Camille, I’m holding on to them. We aren’t sure if we’ll have more children, but I’m not ready to let go of the clothing yet (just in case!).

  • :::Lyzz:::
    June 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Oh gosh, I do love those peonies.

  • Rebecca @ beautiful square feet
    June 9, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Those peonies are beautiful! It would be so lovely to have a mature garden – think I need to dig more beds! Love the picture of you and Eleanor – very sweet in her big hat!

  • K
    June 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Seeing you and the little one in the egg chair finally gives it size to me. I had always assumed that it was suitable for a single person–I’m so much more attracted to it seeing that it’s really more of a group seat. I love it.

    • Making it Lovely
      June 9, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      It’s the best. There are normally cushions for the chair too, but I was washing the covers for them that day.

  • Margaret
    June 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I LOVE peonies too. My mom has a bunch and I’ve been meaning to take some to plant at my new house. There is nothing better then cutting a bunch and putting them all over the house and having their yummy scent fill the air. I actually have some at my work desk right now so I can enjoy them.

  • Linnea
    June 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I was just thinking how much I love peonies, too! Their fragrant, full, fluffy heads are so perfect.

  • Shasta
    June 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Lovely hat, Miss Eleanor.

  • Funnelcloud Rachel
    June 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Love the mother-daughter-in-the-garden pic! Adorable!

  • katrina
    June 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    It looks quite ovely just the way it is :)

  • rachael
    June 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    i love peonies as well. i like the picture of you two!

  • Marcia V. of Precious Style
    June 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Love the peonies, but can I just say that the baby’s floppy hat and sunglasses put those flowers in the shadow. She’s too cute!

  • stephanie
    June 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I have recently uncovered that I love peonies too! We purchased a home and have inherited the white and light pink w/yellow center varieties. It’s unfortunate that they have such a short blooming period, but now I will be totally prepared to make the most of them next year. Ours have been neglected for some time and need a little TLC – the blooming stalks are so long that they lay on the ground. I noticed that you have the peony support from Terrain. How do you like it? I adore the looks of it but wondered about the functionality. Any insights to offer?

    You and Eleanor are a perfect pair in the egg chair!

    • Making it Lovely
      June 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      I bought two of those supports after I wrote about them and someone told me they went on sale. They’re nice, but they don’t do anything more than what a cheaper support would do. I figure they’ll look nice through the times when the yard is barren though.

  • StarletStarlet
    June 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I can’t stop smiling at the sight of Eleanor and her lovely oversized sunglasses!

    Awesome chillaxing time for Mummy and Daughter in cute outfits in beautiful garden.

    Btw, Nicole, how easy is it to grow / care for peonies? I’d love to have some in the front yard.

    • Making it Lovely
      June 9, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      They’re very easy to care for. I don’t do anything but snip off the flowers after they die (they look ugly if you leave them), and then cut them down to the ground in the fall.

  • Claudia
    June 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Oooh, it is SO PRETTY!

  • Jara Downs
    June 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Your peonies are gorgeous, my mom has tried to grow them forever, she got one one time and let me take it to my classroom where we were learning about plants – such sacrifice!!!

    I love that chair you and your daughter are sitting in, perfect reading chair!!!

  • Alison @ The Peacock Diaries
    June 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Look at you two in your hats! Oh my god, I want to get pregnant and give birth to a daughter just so I can recreate that photo. I think Eleanor might be my new fashion icon (and your green dress is killer!).

    And I love peonies :) My second favorite flower, right after ranunculus. I used to work at a botanical garden, and my FAVORITE week was when all of the Japanese tree peonies were in bloom.

    • Making it Lovely
      June 9, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      She’s totally a fashion icon! Ha. She is pretty darn cute though.


      • Emily
        June 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

        She is such a fashionista! Too cute! I love her serious faces.

  • Cat @Breakfast to Bed
    June 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I just had a baby girl a month ago and this picture makes me want to move out of the city so I can have a pic with her like that.

    • camille
      June 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      Cat, get creative and you can find a small place perfect for a photo… Lots of cities have small garden areas that make it look like you’re in the country! Just keep your eyes open and you’ll find a spot. I live in the suburbs, but since I’ve been looking (I’m a photographer wannabe) it’s amazing what’s really hidden behind walls and gates!

  • Mary
    June 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Eleanor looks too stinkin’ cute! :)

  • Ali
    June 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Oh my… such a cute mother daughter pic in your garden! Totally lovely! :) That pic must be framed for your daughter’s room or some place in your home! I love it! Makes me wish my garden looked so lush! :)

    I planted my first peony -4 of them this year but, no blooms! I’m pushing my luck since they don’t seem to grow in my area! Too hot! But, I did get leaves on one of mine but, no blooms!

    Love your garden and all those pink peonies! Beautiful!

    Did you buy more or do they spread and grow to 12 plants?

    You are a style icon in my book! :)

    ~ Ali

    • Making it Lovely
      June 9, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      I think that’s typical, for them to not bloom the first year. They do need a cold winter though, from what I understand.

      We originally had four of them, but we accidentally chopped their roots up and split them, ending up with 12. They all survived. Good luck with yours!

      • Nolita
        June 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

        What a great deal for you guys! I am thinking I need to move my peony from its crowded backyard bed to somewhere else where it won’t be choked out and maybe divide it up too. Love it when plants come back and bring friends (like my forsythia). Lovely pics of you and Eleanor!

  • Crystal
    June 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    You + Eleanor in the egg chair = awesome picture

  • casapinka
    June 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Look how freaking cute you guys are. Your yard is pretty dang nice if you ask me. So nice for summer – I’m the color of your dress!

  • lovemaki
    June 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    ooh, i love peonies! i just cut some up from our garden to display in the kitchen:)
    btw, the photo of you and her is just the sweetest!

  • Heidi S.
    June 10, 2011 at 8:35 am

    You two look so lovely! It makes me want to have a photo shoot with the kids in the backyard (although they don’t typically sit still outside). Did you husband take the photo or did you set up a tripod? My daughter had the same outfit as Eleanor last summer. I was sad when she outgrew it.

    Glad to hear that you picked up the Peony supports. I am still considering them (although my Peonies are all finished). Fortunately, I can just go over to Terrain in person.

    We have a bunch of Peonies too and they are fairly low maintenance perennials. They prefer full sun (they tend to bloom better). I am lazy about staking them and they tend to flop but still look lovely. As you found out, they are pretty easy to divide and they are one of the longest lasting perennials out there (in terms of plant life not flowering period). They will just keep getting wider and wider.

    • Making it Lovely
      June 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

      I planned ahead and bought that romper in a larger size for her to wear this summer, but she’s close to outgrowing it already. Brandon took the photo. No tripod necessary because it was sunny enough, and the aperture was wide open (F/2.8).

      I only got two of the Terrain supports, so I think I’ll have to pick up a few of the generic ones at some point. I’ve been letting the peonies just flop over, but they do look nicer upright.

  • Anu
    June 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I always loved the egg sized chair. looks even better when you both are in it! where did you get the white flower pot from in the second photo june 2011 ?

    • Making it Lovely
      June 10, 2011 at 9:06 am

      IKEA. It’s the same one from the 2008 photo, but it’s covered in trailing plants in that shot.

  • Lacey
    June 10, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I love your table and chairs. What is the name of the table? It looks like it may be from Ikea…my local store is out of their outdoor collection already! Boo :(

  • kate
    June 10, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Your backyard looks so pretty! I just started on my own backyard this year (my last baby was born in sept ’09) and I haven’t felt like I have had the time or energy to address it until now! At my old house I had dark pink peonies. I miss them so. I have white and pale pink at our current house, but think I will have to purchase the dark pink this year. They really are a beautiful flower, I so agree with you!

  • Katie*Belle
    June 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I love peonie — and your yard is absolutely gorgeous. Talk about inspiration!

  • Nolita
    June 10, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Meant to ask about your redbud tree…how’s it doing?

    • Making it Lovely
      June 10, 2011 at 11:08 am

      The same. It was supposed to be pruned yesterday, but the weather wasn’t cooperating.

  • Pam
    June 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Ahh, peonies…I would LOVE to plant these in my garden, especially now that I know that they aren’t so high-maintenance! Also, that photo of you and Eleanor is too cute for words.

  • Sarah Hettervik @ http://agirlintransit.blogspot.com/
    June 10, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Um wow, ya I think your garden looks pretty flipping amazing for just letting it grow. And oh my gosh your daughter is just adorable in that hat and glasses. I can’t wait to do that when my baby gets older =)

    – Sarah

  • Jessika
    June 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Ours are blooming right now, but they are not handling being transported into a bucket (we just moved) very well. So far, two blooms. I’m glad we have any blooms giving the trauma they’re going through right now! Yours are spectacular.

  • White Bedroom
    June 13, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Your garden is looking great. Amazing what a little negligence can do! :)

  • Karen
    June 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    The chair looks so cozy in the garden! Where is it from?

  • Wendy
    July 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Love peonies too. I will be dividing a bunch this fall.