Posts Tagged ‘Peonies’


I have numerous favorite flowers but I have to say the exquisite, perennial peony has to be top, even though roses and daisies follow close behind.  I can remember my mother having a long row of the fragrant bushes on the farm where I grew up.  When I got married and moved to Powhatan, I discovered that Gene’s dad had planted a stunning row of them beside the house several years prior.

I can always count on them starting to bloom the week before Mother’s Day. They don’t last more than 2-3 weeks but the fragrance is like no other flower. It just begs for you to bury your nose in the soft, velvety petals and breathe deeply. They do really well as cut flowers and make a stunning, fragrant bouquet that catches your attention when you step into the room.


It is best (they last longer) to pick the flowers while they are still buds. This will also decrease the amount of ants you carry into the house! Ants are attracted to the sticky sweetness and also help to open the buds. The first, “on my own,” gardening year, I sprayed them with pesticide to kill the pesky rascals. That was a mistake! I learned the importance and value of ants.  To determine when the bud is ready to pick, take hold of the bud between your thumb and first finger and gently pinch. If it is squishy, not hard, it is ready. Within a day of being cut, they will open to a full flower.  (I just recently learned this trick from a gardening friend, Lisa Ziegler).

My row of peonies is at least 48 years old, maybe older.  I have never divided them, although it probably would be a good idea. I am afraid I might mess up a good thing. They say peonies need very little care and can produce for 100 years.

In October after the stalks have died, I cut the dead foliage off as close to the ground as possible. That is all I do to prepare them for winter and the following spring.  If you are want to transplant or divide the plants, October is the month. The first year after replanting they probably will not bloom.  You need to be very careful in replanting that you only cover the roots with 2-3 inches of dirt or they will not bloom.  Peonies love sun but also like some shade protection during the hottest part of the day. Mine are planted on the north side of the house but because they are about 6 feet away from the house they have the benefit of a lot of sun and a little shade. It has been a perfect spot.

Peonies come in different colors and varieties, the most popular and hardy, being the old-fashion white. I also have a lovely, soft, light pink and a medium pink. The red I have replanted several times, I just can’t seem to keep it.


Rain is not kind to peonies once they start to bloom. Because of the very large flowers and multiple blossoms per stalk, the rain weights them down and the blossoms quickly turn brown. This year was especially hard on them. We have had 5 inches of rain in the last week just as they are at their peak. Even the buds hang their heads.

I like using peony rings with my plants. You can’t see them and it helps to hold the heavy stalks and keep them from falling over. I prefer the open two-ring style that looks like a tomato cage, only shorter, rather that the one with the grid top.



I Love May

May has to be the “bestest” month of the whole year.  This year in particular, May is stunning. It is cool with a touch of warmth, rainy, stormy, sunny  and just plain gorgeous.

Today I worked in my garden.  I took the jugs off of my tomatoes that were protecting them from frost and cold weather. The tomatoes were dark green, bushy and growing nicely.  I hoed around the plants and staked them with t-posts.


See the cows in the background grazing in the field of buttercups!


Better Boy Tomatoes


Then I planted my grape tomato (Juliet) and California Wonder peppers.  I like to cage the grape tomato.


It already has some tomatoes on the vine.

I planted a row of zinnias and filled in a few empty spots in my bean rows.  I think the cool weather was hard on the germination of them.


I had to go back to the house for my camera and take some pictures!


Earliglow Strawberries


I made a strawberry pie for lunch tomorrow. We are celebrating Mom Hertzler’s 94th birthday and Mother’s Day.



Blue Lake Pole Beans


I am really pleased with my raised beds. This one has my early stuff……radishes, beets, cabbage, lettuce  and spinach.


This is the first year I have planted Red Sails Lettuce.  I love it.  That will be a regular addition to my lettuce bed!


Burpless Cucumbers


Planted 3 Blueberry bushes this year. They are looking good!


I noticed the southern sky turning dark.  That is where our storms come from.  I quickly gathered strawberries, asparagus  and then I just had to take some pictures of my rose garden.

Who needs roses from a florist for Mother’s Day?!!!









Another favorite flower-the fragrant, lovely peony that opens around Mother’s Day.  The first bud opened this morning just in the nick of time!!!  The bushes are loaded with buds.   I remember a mistake I made the first year I was married.  Dad Hertzler had planted these by the side of the house.  I sprayed them as they were loaded with ants!                               That is a big no-no!  The ants help to open the buds.



Another spring favorite is the stately iris.  They bloom for a day and then are past their prime!  Their beauty reminds me of the verse in Matthew 6:28-29.  “…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not neither do they spin:  and yet I tell you, That Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”   Solomon, the richest, wisest king in history with all his pomp and beauty could not hold a candle to the lovely lilies.






I forget the name of this flower but it quietly blooms in May and has very tiny, delicate blossoms.


My duck pen….

and then I have a few herbs…


Chives. I like them for the way they bloom almost more than the use of them!


And this my friends, is why I love May!

Note: The storm blew over this afternoon and after supper Gene tilled the rest of my garden with the big tiller behind the tractor. The ground worked up so soft and fluffy. Then he helped me finish planting  my garden;  Fordhook Limas, 2nd patch of Incredible Sweet Corn, and Hales Best Cantaloupe.  I am a satisfied gardener!

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