I have always loved Peonies in the garden and seed catalogs but I don't think in all my years I have ever seen a real one in bloom ~
until yesterday!! I went to visit a friend and she had this gorgeous bush in her front yard full of blooms!! I asked her if I might have a bloom and she said take all you want!! So I took three!! Aren't they fabulous?
LuAnn told me cool thing about Peonies - she said watch out for the ants because Peonies are healthier when ants are around. So, I went to Peonies.org and read the following:
Do not try to get rid of the ants on your peonies. This is a natural and temporary activity. It is believed that peonies produce small amounts of nectar and other ant attractants to encourage ants to help in opening the dense double flower buds found in many peonies. The ants may be found covering certain varieties and avoiding others, this is totally normal.
Once the buds have opened the ants will disappear - also normal.
Some people think ants are REQUIRED to open the flowers, but this does not to appear to be true.
It seems a debatable question whether ants are beneficial or harmful. I think they are neutral.
Should you spray a pesticide to get rid of the ants? That is a definite no. Since the ants are not harmful and some pesticide residues are harmful, why endanger yourself, the plants or thepeony's pollinator (good insects) with poisonous sprays?
Just don't spray.
Instead just enjoy the unique interaction of ants and peonies; an evolutionary effect thousands of years in the making and posing no problems in the long run.