I had a rather slow week this week but I did make a little progress on my little shepherd's hut. But first, I want to show you my lovely vase of peonies. My DH and I have been gardening for about 45 years and it was only a few years ago when I finally learned the secret of having beautiful cut peony blooms in the house without the danger of having a house full of ants!
I learned that you need to cut the flowers BEFORE they open. When they are still in tight little balls, but with the colour of the petals showing at the end of the bud, it is easy to swipe away the few ants on the flower at this point. Then, when you have removed the ants which are clearly visible (no place for them to hide since the buds are still quite tightly closed), you put the blossoms into a vase with lukewarm water (I actually slit the bottom 1" or so of stem to allow for better water absorption), and wait for the beauty to unfold. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for them to be in full bloom. Here is my vase just after I cut the buds:
They were fully opened 48 hours later and here are a couple of pictures of them another 2 days after. I am so enjoying my peonies now that I can have some in the house too!