The low-growing, compact Paeonia tenuifolia is much shorter than most of its cousins , growing to a modest 40 – 50 cm (16ins – 20ins) tall. Unlike the familiar broad foliage of most herbaceous peonies it has those delicate fennel-like leaves that botanists refer to as filiform segments. These grow into an airy mound that provides a cushion for the deep crimson, anemone-like flowers. The flowers do have a slight scent but you need a warm, still day to be able to appreciate it.
In the wild P. tenuifolia grows on inhospitable, windy hillsides in the Caucasus but to prosper in the garden it needs a little comfort. Choose an open, sunny place (the more free-draining the better) and dig lots of compost into the planting-hole. Give it an occasional manure-mulch and look forward to the joy that it will bring to your garden – for the next thirty years.