Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Today, if you drive through an older neighborhood, the original homeowners might be long gone, but one flower would still remain blooming. Which one? The peony of course.
For years, gardeners only grew a couple of different types of peonies:
• Herbaceous Paeonia spp. hybrids which came up fresh every year from the ground and are classified by the type of bloom they have, and
•Paeonia suffruticosa, tree peonies, woody branching shrubs that bloom earlier than the herbaceous ones. That all changed when Itoh or intersectional peonies came on the scene. A cross between tree peonies and herbaceous species, they were developed byToichi Itoh of Japan. Itohs are the current celebrities of the peony world with larger flowers resembling the tree peony, but dying back to the ground each winter. Many prized Itoh peonies sport yellow or coppery peach blossoms like Paeonia (Itoh) 'Kopper Kettle’ below.
They also have strong stems to support their nodding heads. I want an Itoh, but I’m waiting a bit longer for prices to come down. Although I love tree peonies’ papery soft blooms, and I grow ‘Guardian of the Monastery’ and ‘Brocaded Gown’, in my part of the middle south, they either look like wet blankets in the rain, or the heat causes them to last only a day or two which is highly disappointing.
On the other hand, herbaceous peonies, easily found at most nurseries and box stores, are simple to grow. To keep leaf diseases from destroying the foliage, employ good garden maintenance by removing foliage after frost and keeping the ground beneath the plant clean. I also feed my peonies in spring before bloom and occasionally spray them with compost tea to ward off disease. Remove spent blooms too. Any diseases my peonies had over the years didn’t stop them from blooming well, although late freezes sometimes kill blossoms before they open.
I’ve often wondered why peonies fell out of favor. I know they have a short bloom time of one to two weeks, but their time on the garden stage is magical. Like bulbs, you can also stagger bloom by growing early, middle and late-blooming varieties. I’m happy to report peonies do seem to be making a comeback perhaps due to the excitement over the Itoh types.
If you buy bare-root plants, herbaceous peonies will be shipped to you in the fall, and you should plant them with the eyes just below the surface of the soil. Most peonies like a bit of cold weather to bloom well although there are a few cultivars which don’t need as much chilling. All peonies in containers can be planted in spring or fall. Position container plants at the level of the soil in the pot, and you should be fine.
Support the heavy heads of herbaceous peonies with some kind of round plant support. I use peony supports like the one in the photo below, but wire tomato cages cut down to size will also work.
It takes about three years for peonies to reach their full potential so don’t worry if they don’t bloom the year after planting. They will grow and get stronger every year, and your patience will be rewarded.
Peonies can live to be 100 years old or more, and many cultivars are very fragrant. Some even smell of roses. If you plant them, they will become part of your garden as long as you live and even beyond which is pretty amazing for a flower that only blooms for a couple of weeks in spring.