A Queensland scientist has proven her sceptics wrong by getting perfumed peonies to flower year on year in the subtropics.
When Krista Bogiatzis first tried to source the stunning cold-climate plants for her experiments at the University of the Sunshine Coast, one nurseryman abruptly cut off her call.
"He said, 'They won't grow in Queensland' and hung up the phone and I did have another gentleman say, 'Well I'll sell them to you but they definitely won't grow up there'," Ms Bogiatzis laughed.
"The plants require an extended period of cold for them to break dormancy so that they can grow and flower the following spring. That's why they say that supposedly peonies can't grow here in the subtropics because our winters are too warm."
But, after three years of trials and some initial losses to fungal infections, Ms Bogiatzis's Peony Project succeeded in getting the glorious perfumed flowers to bloom by altering temperatures to mimic cold conditions over winter.