Martha Stewart posted today on her tree peony seed experiment, which took a lot of work and care with a fabulous payoff. My parents always had gorgeous peonies outside their front door, and, as much as I love roses, these flowers are show-stoppers. As Martha wrote, “Unlike herbaceous peonies, which die back to the ground every fall, tree peonies are woody-stemmed shrubs that produce large and elegant flowers.”

What really struck me about her post, however, was the slide show, which includes photos of her garden (immaculate, of course) in the summer and in the autumn, showing that the shrub remains even after the flowers die off. While the summer photo is more ready for a magazine spread: 

 

Summer Garden

Summer Garden

Her autumn garden is just as beautiful. Obviously Martha Stewart planned it that way, but it’s a great example of how we should consider gardening for all four seasons, not just one burst of showy flowers.

 

Autumn Garden

Autumn Garden

Anyway, I love this photo. While in the summer all you see are flowers, in the autumn (and throughout winter), you notice the shape of the trees, the placement of the shrubs, and all the variations in colors from green to orange to brown to red. And you know it smells heavenly and earthly all at once.