Pretty Peony

We were all a mess on Weed Street lately!  Dearest daughter had the flu (Influenza B is raging still!  Doctor still seeing about 5 cases a day!)  Only the little beasts were upright and healthy, and actually very content to have their people at home all day in bed!DSC_0070

Peonies pulled me from the sick-bed finally.  Have you heard of Peony’s Envy? index4_8_13a  I’ve met Kathleen Gagan !  Her New Jersey farm of peonies and her web site are extraordinary. She came to lecture, and there was a dinner the night before, during which she regaled us over wine and good food with funny stories and also with good sound horticultural advise. If you havent succumbed to a peony (or three) in your garden, consult her on-line catalog first!  I know it isnt the right time to plant a peony, but I broke the bank and purchased one of her tree peonies because I had to have it NOW.    No, it won’t bloom this Spring.  She had only brought a couple along to the lecture.DSC_0068

Dear husband hates it when I tell him that he has to wait to see flowers or to see a tree grow.  I had to tell him that we will be quite old when this tree peony reaches its full 7 feet tall.  It could live a century on Weed Street if I have planted it properly.DSC_0072

For a tree peony, you want a two foot DEEP hole.  You want to amend your soil with something coarse like sand or wood ash  and  compost.  My other peonies like the soil in this area, so hopefully “Concubine’s Feather” will like her new spot!  I’ve not had luck with tree peonies in the past, on our last 4 acre garden.  My Mother grew them beautifully and encouraged me but I gave them up.  But Kathleen tells me I didnt plant deeply enough.  (Not too deep on the herbaceous and not too shallow  for the tree peonies.)  Also you don’t want to mulch these beauties.  No, no, no, no.  (Margaret Thatcher fresh in my mind.)

“Concubine’s Feather” doesn’t look like much now, but I will build a bed around her, getting rid of the grass and giving her the space she needs to start a new fascinating and long life (I hope) on Weed Street.  I hope she will be worth getting out of the sick-bed…

In the mean time, while I have been sleeping, the garden is slowing coming to life.DSC_0071

It’s all beginning again!


About Jayne in Georgia

Wife, mother, and owner of pets much loved. Gardener of three decades, amateur photographer, ardent about art, antiques and books.
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7 Responses to Pretty Peony

  1. Pauline says:

    I just Love peonies, they are so flamboyant, outrageous and gorgeous. The ones that have a super perfume are to die for!! We have quite a few herbacious peonies and two tree peonies, I know the flowers don’t last very long but because they are so gorgeous, I forgive them each year when I see them, they are worth their space.


  2. Jody Raines says:

    We have two peoonies in our upper beds but every year, after they bloom, the foliage turns black and begins to shrivel despite watering and trying to revive them. I am wondering if the heavy clay soil is the problem or too much sun?? They come back every year and bloom but languish after that.


    • Hi Jody,
      I am no expert but could your peonies be infected with botrytis? When things turn black, that’s what I would suspect.. I think you are supposed to cut off all infected blackness, dispose properly and hope to catch it. Kathleen said that between 50 degrees and 70 degrees, the peonies are most prone to this. Once temperatures get above 70 degrees, you’re in the clear. She has great advice on her web site – check it out!


  3. Holleygarden says:

    Sorry to hear your daughter’s been ill. I hope she recovers soon. The flu is such a nasty bug! I definitely have peony envy. Those big, beautiful blooms! Who wouldn’t want some? I have a few planted in my garden, but I am uncertain whether they really grow here (mine were only planted last year). Good luck with your tree peony. Good advice about planting them deeply – didn’t know that. When yours finally blooms, it will be worth the wait!


  4. jody says:

    I want every peony I see.


  5. Peonies are beautiful. Hope yours does well.
    Get better soon. Spring is coming.


  6. Sunil Patel says:

    We got a supermarket peony last year (Lactiflora “Sarah Bernhardt”, or something like that) and so hopefully, it’ll do something this year. I’m all for their large, showy scented blooms although they fade in a somewhat ugly manner so I’ll have to think about how I could disguise that with something else. Good luck with your tree peony though!


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