Molly the Witch.

Or to be precise, Paeony Mlokosewitschii, is now flowering by the front drive.  She is such a beautiful paeony, single with pale yellow petals and sensible enough to keep her petals closed when it is cold like today. I managed to photograph her yesterday when we had a lovely sunny day and her flowers were wide open. But first, the build up to flowering when the buds first start to swell.


P. mlokosewitschii

Almost there.

P. mlokosewitschii

The first glimpse of all the stamens.

P. mlokosewitschii

At last fully open, ready for the first passing bee.


There are lots more buds to open. They look nice surrounded by a sea of forget me nots. Looking through last years photographs we are about 3 weeks ahead this year due to the mild winter that we had. Last year Molly was at this stage over half way through May.

I think I would have to say that at the moment P. mlokosewitschii is my plant of the week, the one I go and look at when I first come downstairs in a morning, to see how many more buds have opened. Do you have a favourite at the moment?

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36 Responses to Molly the Witch.

  1. catmint says:

    I always have difficulty with that question, like being asked which of my children I prefer. Molly the witch obviously does white, not black magic.

    • Pauline says:

      Just favourite at the moment Catmint! I start in January with snowdrops, February with Hellebores, March with with Snakeshead Fritillaries and so it goes on through the year Soon it will be Meconopsis and candelabra primulas, I have a fickle heart! Yes, I like the thought that Molly is a white witch.

  2. Annette says:

    The name alone is just wonderful! I wonder where the name comes from…I have to google it. You have taken some beautiful pictures, Pauline, and I love the combination with blue forget-me-nots. Have a nice weekend!

    • Pauline says:

      Annette, it was named after a Polish botanist, Ludwig Mlokosiewicz in 1897, it was found in the Caucasus Mountains and has since been a firm favourite with gardeners. The forget me nots put themselves there beside Molly and as I like the combination, they are allowed to stay and seed themselves around.

  3. Chloris says:

    Molly The Witch is truly bewitching. I love her from the moment the plump red buds appear poking through the soil in winter. She looks beautiful growing out of a sea of forgetmenots.

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Chloris, Molly is bewitching. When the first red shoots come through, they match exactly the outer petals on one of my hellebores which is in front, she is a real presence in the garden from February onwards. I was lucky with the forget me nots, they put themselves there!

  4. Cathy says:

    I can see why everyone raves about Molly – and not just the flowers, as the plant forms such an attractive clump too

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, Molly is more like a small shrub by the time she flowers and stays like that all summer. The leaves in the summer are a greyish green, which contrasts with everything that is near it and of course, when they first come through in the spring, they are bright red -perfect!

  5. pbmgarden says:

    I like the way you stepped us through Molly’s phases. Beautiful color. susie

  6. Cathy says:

    Yellow peonies are new to me, and it certainly does have its charm. Those single flowers are so elegant. I can understand why you check on it every morning. I have been checking my irises recently, the first opened this morning around 7am! 😉 But my favourites are currently the cowslips. Have a great Sunday Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      The single flowers Cathy, last longer than I thought they would, when it rains or is cold they stay firmly closed.
      The cowslips here are looking lovely, they’ve been seeding around for the last few years so drifts are forming at last, I’m not surprised they’re your favourites.

  7. rusty duck says:

    I think it is my favourite peony. I can’t wait for mine to get mature enough to flower. This year it’s bigger than last.. progress.

    • Pauline says:

      Jessica, mine took a few years before it started flowering, it is worth the wait! Yours must be happy if it’s getting bigger, maybe next year….?

  8. Jane Scorer says:

    Love Molly ! Do you know how she got her name ? truly lovely! I am not usually keen on yellow flowers, but she is such a soft shade.

    My little object of desire at the moment is Snake’s Head Fritillaria – only sadly, they have gone awol! There last year and extremely gorgeous, but no sign this year ! I spend my time poking dolefully around the bit of garden where I saw them last. No show ! I so want to see them !

    • Pauline says:

      Molly is such a lovely shade Jane, more of a primrose yellow. The name comes from a friend of Polish botanist Ludwig Mlokosiewicz who discovered it in the Caucasian Mountains in 1897. He gave it his friends name and now the wider public, who find it difficult to say her name, call her Molly the Witch!
      My favourite last month were my snakeshead fritillaries, how sad that yours haven’t appeared. Have you planted them in moist soil, or maybe in too much sun (when it shines) or have you mistakenly pulled them out thinking the leaves were grass? They should have been happy through the winter with all the rain we had. I hope they turn up for you.

  9. Oh it’s gorgeous. I’ve never seen a yellow one before! Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  10. Frank says:

    Molly looks so healthy and buxom, I love the foliage too. Does it stay in good shape all season? I hear people complain about how peonies bloom for just a few days and then are over. I say those people should grow marigolds!
    My plant of the moment are tulips.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Frank, she stays looking like a small shrub until the autumn, when she dies back. The flowers last longer than I thought they would, I think about a week for each flower, but then there are so many buds opening one after the other, once the plant is a decent size, that the flowering period lasts for about a month.
      I love tulips too but unfortunately tulips don’t like the soil in my garden. I grow a few in containers and raised beds where I can alter the soil and get my fix that way!

  11. Christina says:

    Lovely Pauline, I look forward to seeing your Molly the Which! She is lovely.

    • Pauline says:

      Christina, wasn’t she at your wonderful Garden of Peonies? She is such a lovely soft yellow, she has her petals tightly closed today, it is pouring down, sensible girl!

  12. Wendy says:

    Molly is such a beautiful flower and you’ve taken some lovely photos of her opening to the sun.
    I don’t know if I have a favourite flower at the moment although I’ve loved the native bluebells and among my cultivated flowers some of the first roses are coming out.

    • Pauline says:

      She is lovely isn’t she Wendy. I too am enjoying my bluebells, although to see them in numbers, I must visit my local woodland.

  13. Anna says:

    I can appreciate why she holds you spellbound Pauline. Did you grow her from seed?

  14. debsgarden says:

    Molly is a very charming witch; I can see how she so easily casts a spell! I particularly like the association with the forget-me-nots. By the way, I love all the foliage you showed in your last post. Your garden has fabulous flowers but would not be so lovely without a backdrop of great foliage!

    • Pauline says:

      She has certainly cast her spell on me Debs! I think we both feel foliage is just as important as flowers, your lovely garden shows this.

  15. annie_h says:

    Ooh watching it open like that in your photos was a treat. I can see why its your flower of the moment.

  16. Molly is a charmer! I just purchased (what I thought was) a Festiva Maxima for my garden, but when it bloomed it proved to be another type. My plant of the moment is Catesby trillium.

    • Pauline says:

      It’s so frustrating isn’t it Marian, when plants turn out to be different to what you thought they would be. Did you return it or were you pleased with what flowered?
      I can well understand your Trillium being your plant of the moment, I really must buy one or two for here!

  17. Oh, she is a real beauty, I’d be thrilled if my peony turned out to be half as lovely, although she doesn’t have any flower buds as yet, and may need relocating to a sunnier position.

    • Pauline says:

      Janet, the right situation seems to be important. I had read that Molly came from woodland in the Caucasian mountains, so I planted her in my little woodland. She just languished for a few years until I moved her into the front where she had a bit more sunlight. Hope yours flowers soon.

  18. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your Molly is stunning; such a nice shade of yellow! At this time of year, every plant seems to be my favoirte!

    • Pauline says:

      Very true Peter, at this time of year beautiful plants are opening all the time! Molly is a beautiful primrose yellow, just right for the forget me nots around her.

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