how grows it? when peonies aren't up to par

THE ALLIUMS WERE OFF THIS YEAR HERE (too wet last summer and fall when many summer-dormant kinds want to be dry), but I’m having a good peony crop in 2012. What about you? If your peonies are less-than-plentiful, a primer on what might be going on, along with other peony-growing tips.

  1. Brian G. says:

    No allium blooms for me either. Couldn’t figure that one out. But my two tree peonies were fantastic. Best year yet.

  2. Same here–happy, happy, happy peonies! Plentiful blooms are vibrantly coloured because of lots of rain. Last spring which was very hot and dry, they looked like someone took a torch to them. Their doleful condition remained despite my attentive watering.

  3. Barbara says:

    My peonies are amazing this year. For once, they are standing up straight without any help and the colors seem brighter than ever before.
    I’ll post photos when I can quit staring at them long enough to take some pics!

  4. Donna Arold says:

    Our peonies at the inn have been fabulous this year…I think the fact that we had a cool stretch of weather helpedand allowed me to cut many flowers and even the tight buds to save for later release! If you are a peony-lover, DO check out our Inn’s Blog which has pics and info on ‘Peony’s Envy’ Flower Farm! Take a field trip to this place for heaven-on-earth … and Kathleen (owner and lady-gardener) is a walking encyclopedia on anything peony-related! Peony’s Envy Farm offers the most extensive collection of tree and herbaceous peonies we have ever seen! The gardens feature over 50,000 peony plants with over two hundred and fifty distinct cultivars on an absolutely amazing property in where-else but Bernardsville, New Jersey! A joy for the senses and a life-affirming experience all-around!

  5. My alliums are up and the heads are forming. It’s their first year with me so I’m excited to see them. My peonies are getting big and I should see blooms before too long. I’m grateful I didn’t lose much because of all the frosts we had…..
    Your peony is beautiful! I can smell it! Really I can!! :-)

  6. Jacquelyn Tierney says:

    My Peonies in Long Island are doing amazing this year. There are even two new peony plants blooming this year that I never knew existed in my backyard!

  7. Ann/alba says:

    My lupine are having the best showing this year, as are my peony i have a pink single & a pale pink double.
    have a good one Ann.

  8. Carole Edie Smith says:

    My peonies are very happily showing their faces. Also, my iris have NEVER bloomed like this year.! thanks for asking.

  9. Dawn Caruolo says:

    My peonies are very, very happy this year as are my alliums! The alliums started off slow and not quite as tall as I thought they should be, but with the heat we have had this week, they have blossomed beautifully!

  10. leslie land says:

    Our peonies are all over the place: from absolutely terrific to so-so to total disaster; a great many already had buds when we got the last batch of frosts, with predictable results. Alliums are doing splendidly however. Go figure.

  11. Patricia Kulhavy says:

    Moved all of my peonies last Fall as they were in the wrong spots and had quit producing blooms. Creamy white and then pink. I despaired that they did not ‘take’, for sure the ones that I toed in in the back boulevard. Lo and behold, they are up and will do something next year. The others are getting rooted for next year too. However, where I dug them out, there must have been some roots I missed as they are coming up too. Gardening is such a mystery. Have had good rains here in Rapid City, South Dakota and things have taken off like crazy. I love it.

  12. Louise says:

    I have iris blooming but fewer allium than past years. The peonies I planted have buds that are beginning to color but neighbors nearby have fully blooming peonies! I am glad to read to take only the top to let other buds develop. Here’s hoping.

    Earlier this spring I was digging and found a corm bigger than my arm. I was shocked to learn it was peonies. Because it was a foot under ground, the newly discovered peonies must have been from years ago. So next year, I will have new peonies to enjoy. I wonder what color they will be.

  13. Daisy Marshall says:

    And here I am green with envy. My most favorite of all flowers! Bought some at Fresh Market two weeks ago which barely opened (Won’t say how much they cost) It’s a real treat to get this post Margaret! Daisy in S. Fla.

  14. Inge says:

    Peonies are doing well here in Washington state also. I’m wondering what is good to grow near them that is evergreen so their place is easily saved from year to year, something that compliments them and won’t take over. All my peonies are pink.

    1. margaret says:

      Hello to Jacquelyn — from my old stomping grounds in LI. Love the news of your surprise peonies!
      Hi, Liz. I know — they are so fragrant (sometimes it actually is too much for me with a vase of cut ones in the house if it’s warm like it is this week).
      I don’t have any lupines, Ann, but I passed some the other day that were spectacular when I was driving somewhere. Wow!
      Glad your alliums caught up, Dawn. Mine were so swamped (like 15 or more inches of rain nearly all at once; insane), but they are alive if not prolific. Hoping they will rebound.
      Hi, Mike. I simply deadhead (either cut off the whole flower stem or just the top to prevent seeds from forming) and that’s it. Leave the foliage intact until it withers on its own in fall, then clean up very carefully to reduce overwintering of any fungal spores or other troubles.
      Hi, Inge. They won’t want anything that will cover them at all — they like their own space, so I’d hesitate to overplant them with anything evergreen I think.

  15. pam says:

    Hi Margaret,
    Speaking of Alliums, none of my alliums showed their foliage, much less bloomed. I have attributed the absence to voles or even chipmunks tunneling and moving the bulbs, (was moderately convinced that they are safe from eating.) Could this be so? They seem to have killed by eating a beautiful Miscanthus ‘gracillimus’ in another bed entirely.

  16. Janet B says:

    So far so good for my 3 lovely peonies that came the mother plant…at my mothers. I put a ring around one of them, the other two are supported by rhododendron and azaleas. My biggest worry is the inevitable rain. When the peonies bloom it always seems there is a big storm lurking out there. I run to cut them for a beautiful bouquet.

  17. Judith McKnight says:

    My peonies are in bud but may be awhile for them to bloom. It was 38 degrees in New Rockford,N.D. this morning!

  18. maryellen says:

    Peonies are splendid this year, though they always do well by me. I am still battling powdery mildew, however, though I know that’s due to the shade situation they’re now in. Alliums were so-so, but for mine it was only their first year, so I’ve high hopes for next spring. Irises were mad beautiful too. It’s been a might good spring in the Mid-Atlantic!

  19. JudyW says:

    No alliums this year. Not even a promise. Are they gone forever? But the peonies are stupendous. I dug them up from my Mom’s house about 10 years ago. They were there when I was growing up so are at least half a century old!

    1. margaret says:

      Yes, JudyW, really sad here too compared to typical years. I think if they get a good dry period this summer (the species that need it) they will bounce back — I saw foliage but sparse bloom, so I don’t think they rotted off.

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