Peonies

Branching Out

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I spent just over an hour yesterday removing the side buds on my peonies. If I don't do that the weight of multiple buds pulls the stalks down, and the blossoms end up near the ground instead of upright. So far this spring has been much drier than last spring, and the plants are looking healthy and strong with very little fungus. Any leaves that were deformed or blackened were removed, and in a few cases I had to pull the entire stem.

One of the things to watch for is peony buds that have an open spot in the centre (as shown in the photo on the left), where moisture can get in and encourage rot. I have one plant like that that I will be keeping an eye on. So far only a few of the buds are a concern; I will monitor that plant, and may just snip the incomplete buds off as a precaution.

The photo on the right is of six special peonies that I ordered in the autumn of 2018. A few of them including Amalia Olsen, Etched Salmon, and Nick Shaylor do not seem to produce side buds, which is wonderful. Less work for me as there is no dis-budding to do; just one strong bud per stem. They are planted very close together where I heeled them in 5 years ago, and will be moved to their permanent locations in the garden this fall. I want to make sure I select a good spot for them, and I will spend the next few months getting the soil amended because once they get transplanted I hope to keep them there for ever. I have learned the hard way that peonies should be planted at least 4' apart from each other. Another trick I employed was to plant the new recruits in alphabetical order. I had marked the plants with painted stone 'labels', but over the years the stones got kicked around or buried by accident. Thank goodness I placed them in alphabetical order.
 

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Branching Out

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This year I tried inter-planting my peonies with daffodils, with the hope that the daffodils would bloom before the peony foliage got too tall and camouflaged them. It turned out pretty well and so far I like the effect, however the peonies are really beginning to grow quickly and will likely overtake the daffodils a bit sooner than I had hoped. Next year I might try to cover the daffodils with something to force them to grow just a little sooner. I will have to give that some thought.
 

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Branching Out

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After having lots of peonies at the last place in Oregon, I scoured the estate sales I got to to find the metal green round supports. They are over top of the baby peonies I brought with me to this place.
I just love estate sales-- so many treasures to be had. Initially when I had just one peony I tried using a peony support, but as my collection grew to over 100 peony bushes it became impractical. Now I ruthlessly cull any plants that have floppy stems, and I try to harvest all of the stems around the perimeter of the plant when the blooms are at the 'soft bud' stage so they don't have a chance to get top-heavy and tip over. Another plus of picking the buds when they feel like a soft marshmallow any laying them on the ground for a few minutes is that any little ants that are on the stem tend to run away. There are always a few straggler ants that really hold on, so I hold the bunches upside down and shake them gently to discourage hitchhikers. If you harvest peonies after the petals have completely blown open it is near impossible to get the ants out. I still pick those flowers sometimes for nice big arrangements, but those bouquets-- and the ants-- stay outdoors.
 

ducks4you

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Peonies are easy to grow. I started one, now a big bush, from a package I bought at Dollar General.
I have 4 peonies, 3 pink and one dark pink, which was planted by somebody else and the shade of the maple tree directly south and above it makes it grow slowly.
I keep Meaning to move it every year and I forget. There is a great and sunny spot in DD's yard that it would love!
@Branching Out, could you set an alarm for August to remind me?
 

Branching Out

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We are experiencing a very early heat wave with temperatures over 32C(90F) for several days in a row, and it seems to have hastened the bloom time of my first peony of the season, Early Glow. It is a lovely tall plant with strong stems and broad blush pink blossoms.
 

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digitS'

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I wish I knew the name of this variety
That is so very true with me, @Branching Out :). There are quite a few peonies around my home. I know not one name.

At one time, we had a good size dahlia garden. Only a few were known by name.

And yet, every Spring, as the weeds arrive, I fret over having forgotten their names over the Winter :D. My relationship with the weeds is a significant one. Flower gardens bring me some sort of light-hearted joy. I must try to put the weed names out of my mind when they are not around. With that, I am successful.

:) Steve
 

heirloomgal

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Another peony has started to bloom, and it is quite eye catching! I wish I knew the name of this variety, but unfortunately I don't.
Looks a bit like Karl Rosenfield? It's a popular variety.

I have a peony bush that is close to 15 years old and has gotten quite large. The stems can't even be tied up anymore, there are just too many flowers, and they're too heavy. I guess cutting the plant in half with a shovel is probably the best bet to get the plants upright again? At this point, I can't even remember if it ever stood up straight...?
 
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