Peonies are a deep, bright maroon red and are actually a bit pointy when they first come out of the ground. After a week or two, they start to stretch up to the sky and the tips open up a bit.
It is always a bit shocking when the vibrant red stalks turn completely green and look utterly different from the previous week's growth. A typical established peony will have anywhere from 5-10+ of these stalks in a large circle that will grow straight up.
At this point in spring, the leaves are bright green and very glossy with a little red still left in the very center.
When they bloom, they are a most glorious sight...layers upon layers of fluffy petals in shades of pink, red and white. And the smell is beyond divine!
After a few years in the ground, peony will grow into a large, dark green plant with a rounded habit that does not need pruning. The flowers are only one of the reasons to have peonies in a garden. This summer has been a wet one so far and some peonies suffered from a little peony blight. See those few black edges?