One of my favorite childhood memories was helping my aunt cut the peonies that lined a narrow strip in our backyard. I have a picture of my eighth grade graduation with a huge bouquet of peonies in my hands. The aroma of peonies is overwhelming but to me never offensive. I had peonies at my last house that I had to put in cages or they were all over the ground. So, I finally decided to try a single variety.
I purchased two Krinkled White Peonies and put them in the back of my yard. Krinkled White is an early bloomer in May for about two weeks duration. They are about twenty-five feet from my patio, but they pop out from among the green during the late May garden. I am not a fan of peony soldiers (all lined up in a row),but I do like to see them peek out of a border here and there. Because they are singles they do not require support.
Do not cut down peony foliage (it looks very good throughout the summer season). It can be trimmed down when the leaves fall. Peonies do not like to be divided so they are carefree. When planting peonies that red bud needs to be above the soil to promote flowering. If all of that flopping and caging bothers you, take a look at the single peonies. I do miss that rose- like flowers on the old fashioned peonies, but I don't miss what they look like after a rain!