The peonies at Yvonne Musser's farm in Manor Township start with an early-blooming coral peony.
Later, there are Maxima peonies, a type with sturdy stems and white, fragrant flowers. The pinks range from the palest pink to medium pink and magenta plus a pink with a yellow center. Red Charm is a spectacular red packed with petals. Gay Paree has a ring of plum petals on the outside, medium pink petals in the middle and creamy white petals in the center.
Through the years, Musser has sold her flowers to florists and wholesalers. The fields with nearly 400 peony bushes are closed to the public. She invited an LNP | LancasterOnline photographer to capture the beauty.
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Yvonne Musser grows plants with a special focus on fragrance, like lilacs and lily of the valley. She’s taught herself about perennials like peonies as she’s added plants through the years.
She now has 364 peony shrubs, including this Festiva Maxima.
With hundreds of peony plants, she’s learned not to mix different varieties in her rows. They mature at different rates, making it more difficult to harvest.
Among her perennial plants, peonies are a dependable flower with little care. This is a variety called Nick Shaylor.
“(Peonies) take minimal care and they give you back. It’s one of my favorite flowers,” Musser says. “The bloom is so spectacular when you see that it comes out of a bud that’s the size of a large marble.” This is Madame Butterfly.
Bob Musser, Yvonne's husband, lends a hand with the peonies by edging the flower beds and adding mulch.
Musser doesn't add supports to her peony plants, with the exception of one variety (not pictured) that has tall stems topped by cherry red flowers.
To bring peonies indoors, cut the stems when the flowers are halfway open, Musser says.
Cut peony stems at an angle so they won't rest directly on the bottom of the vase, Musser says.
And place them in a vase with lukewarm water. Remove any leaves below the water line.
And if you're buying peonies, when you bring them home, cut an inch off the bottom of the stems at an angle before putting them in a vase of lukewarm water, Musser says.