Gardens can be made up of many types of plants. Continuous blooming perennials, flowering shrubs or unique conifers combine to provide a pleasing palate to the discerning gardener. It is important to put things that you really love in your garden. For me that plant is the peony.
Peonies (paeonia) are a hardy long lived perennial native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America. They love full sun and are easy to grow.
It comes in the herbaceous (non-woody) or tree form. Their blooms range in colors of white, pink, red or coral.
The plants can be so laden with single, semi-double or double blossoms that they have to be staked but the beauty and size of these vivid blooms are well worth the effort.
Peonies are a spring blooming perennial. With careful planning and the use of the different cultivars a continuous show of these amazing blooms can last from mid-May well into June. Once the bloom is gone the glossy green leaves last all summer turning purplish or gold in the fall.
The Peony enjoys well composted fertile soil in a well drained area. Fall is the best time for planting.
Provide a generous- sized hole applying a liberal amount of bone meal ( well mixed in), setting the root with eyes up about 2 inches from the surface and back fill with soil being sure not to cover too deeply.
There are many reasons why a peony might not bloom.
A common mistake is to plant too deeply, so the plant may have to be raised.
It does do not like to be divided or moved from spot to spot and can take a few years after being transplanted to establish blooms again. If the plant is undernourished the buds may form but not develop.
Top dressing with compost and bone meal away from the crown of the plant will give it a much needed boost. A word of warning peonies do not like to be over fed stay away from fertilizers with high nitrogen numbers.
Too much shade will result in a plant that is gangly and competition from other tree or shrub roots will result in a plant that will not thrive.
This may seem like a lot of rules, but if planted in the right spot the peony will give you years of pleasure from one generation to the next.
Often ants can be seen crawling over the buds, but don’t worry. They are enjoying the nectar and helping to nurture the bloom by removing bud-eating pest..
If using for a cut flower arrangement just dip the buds in water to remove the ants before bringing them into the house.
For those gardeners like me who love a show of striking, large, vivid colored blooms to high light the garden, take the time to place these divine plants where they are sure to seen and enjoyed .
Betty Drover and Patty Siddall operate a local garden business and will share their expertise in the Trail Times every other Friday. Contact Siddall Drover Garden Services at 250-364-1005