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  • Kristina

Problem Solving Peonies

It is that time of year again when we finally get to put all of our garden planning ideas into action. It is also the time of year when I start looking forward to spring blooms. I wanted to put out a post about one of my favorite spring blooms. Peonies, peonies, peonies! These big impact flowers add incredible interest to your garden, stopping passersby dead in their tracks. They come in a wide variety of colors from deep pinks to whites, yellows to reds. Just look at those flowers, how can you not love those happy blooms?

I have found that most people fall into two categories when it comes to peonies, people love them so much that they want almost every variety they can get their hands on or people either want absolutely nothing to do with them. I speak for the latter, their dislike generally isn't because they don’t like the blooms but more so because they think they require lots of work.

When planted properly, these perennials can be considered low maintenance! Yes, you read that right. If you want these bountiful blooms in your garden, have I got some tips for you!

Solve the short bloom season.

Some may argue that these short lived blooms aren't worth it but I completely disagree. When these blooms fill your garden you will not only look forward to these each spring but they also leave a long lasting impression. I am even willing to bet that you will take loads of pictures when they are in bloom to share with everyone because these huge flowers are awe inspiring. So back on track, how do you keep these amazing blooms going for an extended period of time? It's simple, look for early, mid and late blooming peonies. Buy one of each (or more!) in different colors and they will give you loads of interest for weeks on end!

What is with the ants?

Most people assume that you need ants for peony blooms and that's a myth. If you have ever owned a peony or inspected them you may have noticed ants. Peonies and ants have a symbiotic relationship with each other where the peony blooms provide nutrients for the ants and the ants protect the peonies. Those ants are keeping your peonies safe from all kinds of floral-feeding insects. Keep it natural, put the insecticides down and let the miracle of nature do its work. Those ants have an important job to do protecting your beautiful peonies flowers from harmful pests!

Stop the cage problem.

Another common complaint that I have heard is that you have to cage peonies, making them a high maintenance plant. Well I do agree, that they typically look their best when standing upright, there is nothing saying that they have to or that they can’t look beautiful in their natural weeping state.

There are some workarounds if you feel they need to stand upright that may work in your garden. For starters, if you are looking to have a low fuss garden with peonies in it, look for varieties that have strong stems. They have been bred to withstand their own weight better and hold up the blooms.

Have peonies that you love that fall over and you still don't want to cage them? I hear you, sometimes the blooms are so beautiful that, let's face it, you just cant help yourself. That is okay! Here is the perfect solution: plant your peonies as a medium height perennial in your garden (think of this as the second row in a perennial bed). Plant late blooming perennials behind them and compliment them with spring blooming perennials in front.

Recommendation: Underplant with Catmint and salvia for a delicate yet incredible display. For contrast plant next to Irises they have sturdy upright leaves that oppose the weeping nature of a peony.

Still unsure how to add these to your garden? I promise you are not alone. Some find these flowers a bit intimidating to plant. At Alexander’s Professional Landscaping we know perennials. Let our professionals tackle your garden design and installation and you can enjoy your new peony blooms every spring.

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