Peony mlokosewitschii

Meet Molly, Molly the witch to her friends. I first met Molly probably around 35 years ago and I fell under her spell from the beginning. Whichever garden she lived in then, they didn’t have one for sale, but it would have been very expensive anyway.

It had been a long time since I’d seen her, but she was always a ‘one day’ plant. And then two years ago in a small independent nursery west of Dartmoor there she was. Or at least a very juvenile Molly, just a stem and a couple of leaves. She had to come home with me.

I’m ashamed to say that after all that longing, I left her in the pot, just watering her when I remembered, and of course she died down through the winter. Last year I neglected her again and I thought I’d lost her, but lo and behold a tiny shoot burst through the soil. The shoot grew big enough to actually plant in the ground, she only grew a few inches then disappeared.

Early last month I noticed a tiny pink spear, so I gave her a few words of welcome, which seemed to conjure another inch of growth and an unfurling leaf. Since then we speak every day, as is the way of witches, and this is what she looks like now.

So will she make it this year? The experts say she is shy to flower and can take five years to make up her mind. Watch this space, if she blooms you’ll see.

Anyone grown one?