And yes they can be difficult. They hate having their roots disturbed and it will stop them flowering, sometimes for a few years, until they recover. They're not overly fond of being kept in containers, and occasionally they wink up, as my dear mother would say, and die for no other reason than that they can.
But if you cherish them, mulch and water them, for a brief spell in May and June, they'll make your heart sing with joy, blooming and filling the garden at dusk with their unforgettable scent.
My go to place for peonies is Kelways Nursery, not far from us here in Bristol, a mere hop and a skip across into Somerset. They are well worth a visit, and have some stunning varieties, bred by themselves.
It's also worth remembering that peonies make great cut flowers. Cut them straight into water and they will last a good 5 days in a vase. And there's nothing better than a whole peony bouquet!