Peonies in a French Garden


, , , , , ,

Tree peony

One of my lovely readers emailed me the other day to tell me that she had found my blog

months ago after goggling old linens and textiles, yet had hesitated to contact me, fearing

that her English wasn’t good enough. Our combined adoration of peonies put us on the same

page, yet again, and she sent me photos of her gorgeous tree peonies, and, after prompting,

told me a little more about herself and sent additional photos of her wonderful part of

the world in the south west of France…


My name is Karin Jansky. I’m a German Antique dealer and Interior consultant,

living in the Périgord.  Being an Antique Dealer combined with Interior consultancy

for about 30 years. The last 10 years I worked (exhibited) at the Decorative Antiques

and Textiles Fair in London-Battersea, which is 3 times a year, I know Jane Sacchi

quite well, she is the vetter for the textiles…

Tree peony bush

Incredible bush of tree peonies in Karin’s garden. Tree peonies require less chilling than

the herbaceous variety, have larger blooms, sometimes as large as dinner plates! The

blooms are ragged edged, ethereal tissues that emote into deeper tones and markings in

the center. Karin sums up their incredible history:

The tree peony, known as “Mudan” in Chinese, has been grown as an ornamental

plant since the Sui Dynasty (581-618) or even earlier.  Paintings and literature suggest

that the tree peony has been associated with Chinese culture for over 3.000 years.  “Mu”

means male, and “dan” means red.  “Mudan” means “a plant that can reproduce by both

seed and sucker.  Tree peony has also been called “Hua Wang” which means “The King of

Flowers”, and “Fu Gui Hua”, which means wealthy and honorable.  Height up to 2 meter,

and some of them can get up to  500  years old!  They are a bit “capricious” if they don’t

like a place in the garden, but if they do…..what a pleasure!

Tree peony in French garden

In general in German we call them “Pfingstrosen” which means Whitsun roses

(because of the flowering season around Whitsun) and in the South of Germany

where I’m grown up on the country side they are called “Bauernrosen”  = Farmer’s roses.

French garden

Just love May with it’s fresh green, special light early mornings, special blue sky’s,

our birds are singing and we had such a,  for our region unusual, long and cold winter.

it’s so exiting for me to stroll around my simple country garden, discovering new

blossoms coming up. A glint of color here, a little bit there.  Simple but good!

French garden roses

This lovely white, tinged pink in bud rose was Karin’s mother’s favorite rose…

it reminds me of my Frau Karl Druschki, a c. 1901 Hybrid Perpetual

French garden

Coppery pink with a lavender blue salvia

I’m besotted with the stone house behind the roses…

rose against stone house in French garden

A deep velvety red clambering against the shutters…

French flea market find

Karin showed me many of her antiques as well…

French fire-gilded bronze curtain rings

Napoleon III, c. 1860…

Used as napkin rings

Antique Italian sconce c. 1800

Gilded Italian sconce

c. 1800

18th century French mirror

The gilded top of an 18th century

French mirror…

Interior of French stone house of antique dealer

At the base of the stairs…one of a set of  French chairs from a suite,

Attributed to Paul Follot, 1930-40’s

French antiques

Beautiful vignette…

I would love to share the beauty of nature and history with somebody.

Peonies, gardens,  French stone houses, shutters, antiques…

all my favorites…

Thank you for sharing them all with us Karin!



, , ,

Entry hall antique console mirror and chandelier

Some favorite bits of gilt…

18th century Venetian mirror…

2oth century gilded console, bronze and crystal chandelier…

That Chanel shopping bag is inspired…and the offset green

potted white orchids…

Gilt architectural fragment

18th century Italian gilt cartouche fragment


focal point in design

1960’s artwork by Al Held above a Louis XIV gilded settee

upholstered in Belgian linen …top photo and above

design by C. Renea Abbott of Shabby Slips Houston

photography Roger Davies, Western Interiors April ’09

gilded boiserie

Full on gilt boiserie…in process…

gilt boiserie detail

and in detail…

House and Garden archives

gilt wood architectual fragment

Paper Illusions the Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave

Carved, gilded, a touch of blue and old white…

gilt frame wall grouping

Ginny Magher’s home in Atlanta…

a complicated wall pulled together

with gold detail…

Veranda March April ’06

antique mix in design

Designer Dan Marty’s Los Angeles apartment…

The glint of gold frames and marine blue adding a

subtle accent to the warm, neutral color range,

a mismatched set of small octagonal Syrian tables…

antique chinoiserie desk trouvais

Antique chinoiserie dresser, framed art…lightly traced in gold

deconstructed armchair…

photography Tim Street-Porter

Western Interiors April ’09

Flags in design

In my office my vintage flea market flag and

Wisteria sunburst mirror…dressed up with a bit

of gold paint…be it ever so humble, there’s

always a place for a bit of gold…

Thinking of Lene


, ,


Lene of The Essence of the Good Life has been spending the last few weeks

wrestling with a serious health issue. She is such an inspiring, courageous, talented,

and giving fellow blogger, and you would be doing yourself a favor to visit her here.

Besides her gorgeous photos of her Nordic homeland, and her beautiful posts

on design interiors, her side column quotes give you glimpses into the

sort of woman she is.

espaliered apple tree

So while I appreciate my garden…

with its espaliered fruit trees….

Clematis and rose


garden trouvais



and roses…

old French roses

I’m thinking of Lena…in her beautiful garden…

and hoping she feels better and stronger every day…

The Green Garden

The gorgeous header above is from The Green Garden Gate…

Lena’s garden blog…her Peony post here is INCREDIBLE!!!!

A favorite The Essence of the Good Life post here is about

traditional brightly knitted Norwegian mittens …

If you are a foodie, visit her Great Taste blog here

and there’s even a fourth blog…

The Good Life on Top of the World here

A truly remarkable woman….