Spring Fever

You may remember that I had a mature and established peony hedge in my old house.  As is common in the neighborhood, these shrubs divided our yard and our neighbor’s.  Slightly less common might have been my boys’ using it as hurtle, or maybe that is the role it played for generations, accustomed to the shush of the leaves as bare feet grazed its tops.

It was plentiful and generous and the blooms filled my home for weeks.  Large bunches spilled from vases on the mantle; smaller handfuls cheered the morning cook.

Last fall, nearly winter, on perhaps the last possible weekend, I had a fit of peony separation anxiety and we filled the back of my car with young and tender shrubs.

They are so small and so spindly.  I almost fear the day that they begin to bloom as the stems will surely give way, collapsing head first like a young girl in despair.

But we must start somewhere.  So now we wait.

Images, all mine.  The top three from the Dream House – the rest from the House with No Name.

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11 thoughts on “Spring Fever

  1. I'm SURE they will grow with your loving attention. I love peonies as well — sending you lots of sunny energy for a plentiful crop! xx

  2. My favorite flower. Don't worry, year one's crop can be iffy but they only get better year after year.
    What varieties did you plant?

  3. Your hedge was beautiful. I, too, had separation anxiety. We moved to our dream location in the CWE five years ago and I had to leave my just, really beginning to flower babies. This spring we will once again move, to my daughter's small cottage with a postage stamp yard. But there is one peony and more to come, as soon as her adorable dog leaves.

    Thank you for such a delightful blog!

  4. Hi Patricia–perhaps these babies are stronger than you think–they did survive the winter and the buds show so much promise–waiting to please their mama. Happy Spring. Mary

  5. One of your earlier peony posts inspired me to plant a peony hedge. The deer love it, and so do I.

    My favorite part is dividing the plants in the fall. It gives such hope that next year will be more bountiful.

  6. As Henry Mitchell advised: find out what grow well in your garden and grow lots of it. Peonies like the midwest. I have friends in California who actually put ice baths to shock the peonies. (They need this tough love to grow well). Unless you planted these babies with the eyes down (easier to do than it sounds), you should be fine. If you don't grow the peony 'Kansas', take a look. It is an early red and developed by the late Myron Bigger of Topeka. 'Kansas' won the equivalent of an Oscar and has been hailed as the perfect red.

  7. Take a length of green or black jute twine and gather the stems peony together gently with the jute. Tie in a discrete bow; not too tight, just enough so that the stems aren't so far apart and floppy. This will help them stand up and will be completely hidden as the leave fill out. I use this even on large peonies; so much easier and nicer than cages.

  8. Patricia, check out Klehms Song Sparrow Farms on the internet. I purchase varieties of peonies from them that you can't find in your local nursery. They ship at the proper planting time in the fall and it is amazing how strong these plants are in the spring when they bloom.

  9. What a luxury those hedges were! You will be enjoying them in your new digs in no time! They are hard to grow in Sacramento, but we were lucky to have bought a house that had a couple of small bushes, but they are nothing to compare and tucked away now behind a new-ish garage. Maybe it is time to plant more!

  10. I grew up in Ohio and peonies abound everywhere in May. I now live in Texas and I miss them terribly. I head downtown to a florist in River Oaks every spring to buy some to get my fix. My absolute favorite flower!!!

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