According to the Urban Dictionary, Junuary is a word for those cold June days that feel extra-cold because it’s, well, June. Pshaw! I’m co-opting it.
Now, when it’s reeeeally cold, we need reminding that spring is a few (just a few, honest!) days away. We need Junuary more on a day like today: not January in June, but June in January. Think of it as a mental booster shot that lifts our spirits till temperatures begin to rise, too – and our gardens come back to life.
What better poster child for Junuary than peonies (Paeonia spp); big, blowsy, beautiful, and all too brief. I don’t pretend to know lots about peonies – my garden is too small, and too dry and shady, to grow them. But I know what I like, and I like these. After the slideshow, I’ll share info on how to grow them and where to catch their beauty.
The Canadian Peony Society has good info on everything from planting to cutting or drying herbaceous, intersectional and tree peonies.
We’re also hugely lucky in Toronto to be within a reasonable drive of three major peony collections. Put them on your to-see list:
- West of the GTA, the Royal Botanical Gardens Laking Garden throws a huge bouquet of Iris and Clematis into the mix with its June peony display.
- To our east, the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden holds an annual June Peony Festival (June 9 & 10 in 2018), which we’ve written about before.
- South of Brantford – and worth visiting for its conifer gardens alone – new botanical garden Whistling Gardens is also home to an enormous show of over 1,000 peony species and cultivars. The dedicated peony garden will be in its second year in 2018, so should be quite something.
And remember the January winter chill is part of the reason peonies do so well in our climate – and cool Junuary days in June help keep those glorious petals from dropping too quickly. We win both ways.
Hope your Junuary booster shot helped. Do you think we should rename those cold June days plain Jane?